Publications

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Cigarettes become a dangerous product: Tobacco in the rearview mirror, 1952-1965

Tobacco control's unparalleled success comes partly from advocates broadening the focus of responsibility beyond the smoker to include industry and government. How can public health advocates apply lessons from tobacco control to other efforts like the fight against harmful food and beverage industry products and marketing practices? A study we conducted with our colleagues from the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law offers insights.

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Video: The fight to reduce auto hazards

Automobiles are a major cause of injury and death, yet because they have long been a symbol of freedom and privacy in the United States, efforts to regulate them often meet resistance. Even basic protections like seat belts and airbags that we now take for granted were once contested. In this video as part of BMSG's 20th anniversary brown bag series, Ben Kelley, director of injury control policy at the Trauma Foundation, discusses the evolution of auto industry regulation and changes in the public's perception of and media reporting on the issue since the early 20th century.

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Webinar: Talking about Health in All Policies

Communities across the U.S. are looking for ways to make sure health considerations are a part of all policy decisions. This requires collaboration and clear communication. In a webinar hosted by the Public Health Institute's Dialogue4Health, BMSG's Lori Dorfman and Ingrid Daffner Krasnow discuss how organizations can make the case for why Health in All Policies is essential to help protect physical and fiscal health, advance community engagement, and build relationships across government sectors.

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Talking about Health in All Policies

Health in All Policies is a collaborative approach to improving the health of all people by making sure health considerations are a part of all policy decisions. In Section 7 of this toolkit from the Public Health Institute, BMSG's Lori Dorfman and Ingrid Daffner Krasnow discuss how we can more effectively make the case for a Health in All Policies framework. Download toolkit >

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Video: Why government is an essential protector of public health

Speaking at a California State Senate informational hearing, BMSG media researcher Andrew Cheyne talks about the government's role in protecting public health. He discusses how public perceptions of the government's responsibility to support health have changed over time and explains how media coverage can influence -- and often limit -- our understanding of health issues.

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Webinar: Strategic communications and planning for YOU(th)! How youth-serving organizations can plan ahead for community change

Youth and youth-serving organizations play an important and unique role in supporting efforts to create healthy environments. Knowing how to plan communications efforts is a critical function of local organizations' collaborative success, within the local health department infrastructure and beyond. In this webinar, BMSG's Ingrid Daffner Krasnow and Lezak Shallat, along with the Network for a Healthy California, provide some foundational tools to plan ahead for strategic communications to help advance systems change in local communities.

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Corporate irresponsibility: Junk food marketing to children

Marketing for soda and junk food is everywhere kids are: at school, in the supermarket, in our communities and online. Try as they might, parents simply can't compete with the $1.8 billion food companies spend each year to entice and engage children. In this commentary (part of a larger report on obesity), BMSG's Lori Dorfman and CSPI's Margo Wootan discuss the issue and what can be done. To view the commentary, see Page 73 of the full report.

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Strategic communications and framing webinar for YOU(th)!: How youth-serving organizations can support youth voice for community change

Youth and youth-serving organizations play an important role in supporting efforts to creating healthy environments, and knowing how to talk about their work is a critical function of their success. In this webinar, BMSG's Ingrid Daffner-Krasnow and the Network for a Healthy California help participants learn how to communicate more effectively and better support youth voice in advancing systems change.

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Soda tax debates: News coverage of ballot measures in Richmond and El Monte, California, 2012

In 2012, two California cities asked voters to consider taxing soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. The measures failed, but advocates can learn a lot from how the news media covered the issue. In this preliminary report, we discuss what arguments appeared in the news, how reporters portrayed the need for the policies, how government and the soda industry were characterized, and what this means going forward. A final report will be released later this year.

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Video: Bringing health equity to the message environment: Policy issues

In this presentation, as part of the Institute of Medicine workshop Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight, BMSG's Lori Dorfman discusses how our message environment undermines health equity by targeting youth (especially youth of color) with marketing for unhealthy foods. Dorfman says this type of targeting often happens without parents' knowledge and makes recommendations for change, including conducting more research and pushing for policies that strengthen nutrition standards and hold industry accountable.

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The digital food marketing landscape: Challenges for researchers

In spite of a rapid growth in digital marketing, research on how it affects children's health has failed to keep pace with changing industry practices. This chapter, part of Advances in Communication Research to Reduce Childhood Obesity, presents a conceptual framework for understanding how digital marketing differs from traditional forms of marketing and identifies challenges for researchers.

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Video: Authentic community engagement

In the heat of a campaign, it can be easy to forget that advocacy is about more than winning a particular policy change. It's about values and relationships -- and that requires dialogue. In this brown bag discussion, Francisco (Pancho) Argüelles, executive director of the Living Hope Wheelchair Association, encourages us to step outside our comfort zones and learn how to open the space for conversation so that we can become better allies to communities struggling for justice.

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Video: Making the case for government

Advocates work tirelessly for social change on a variety of issues. But their efforts may be thwarted by underlying negative attitudes toward government and a widespread misunderstanding of its role in creating a healthy, functioning society. As part of BMSG's 20th anniversary brown bag series, Patrick Bresette, program director for Public Works, explores how we can tackle this problem and build public support for a government dedicated to the common good.

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It's not just for teens: Viral marketing to young children

Food companies use viral digital marketing tactics, which may be considered deceptive and in violation of state consumer protection laws, to induce children to share email addresses of their friends and spread brand advertising of unhealthy foods among their peers. This legal issue brief, prepared by the Public Health Advocacy Institute in collaboration with BMSG and the Center for Digital Democracy, explains the tactics being used and suggests ways they can be addressed, particularly under state law.

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Marketing sugary cereals to children in the digital age: A content analysis of 17 child-targeted websites

Cereal companies, the third biggest food marketer to children, are using sophisticated online marketing techniques to target kids with unhealthy products and get them to engage with brands in ways not possible through television advertising. In this study, BMSG's Andrew Cheyne, Lori Dorfman and Eliana Bukofzer, along with the Yale Rudd Center's Jennifer Harris, explore cereal companies' digital marketing tactics and implications for public health.

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Food and beverage marketing to children and adolescents: Limited progress by 2012, recommendations for the future -- brief report

Although research suggests that healthy products can be profitable for the food industry, marketers continue to target children with ads for foods and beverages that are unhealthy, cheap and widely available. Such marketing is linked to overweight, obesity and related health problems. This brief report, prepared by Healthy Eating Research based on BMSG research, explains the scope of the problem and offers recommendations for improvement.  

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Food and beverage marketing to children and adolescents: Limited progress by 2012, recommendations for the future -- full report

American children and adolescents remain exposed to a disproportionate amount of marketing for unhealthy foods and beverages, in spite of some progress by industry, government and schools to improve young people's food environments. This report -- a review of academic and industry literature on trends in food marketing to youth, as well as policy interventions -- explains what this means for public health researchers and advocates looking to improve kids' health.

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Talking about sugar sweetened-beverage taxes: Will actions speak louder than words?

In spite of the role that sugar-sweetened beverages play in chronic health problems, public health advocates face formidable challenges in arguing for a tax on them. In this article, BMSG's Lori Dorfman explains the backdrop that makes passing a soda tax so difficult and what advocates can do to increase the public's understanding of and support for such a solution. (Purchase required to view full text.)

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Blogging tips for media advocates

Blogging can be a powerful communications tool for media advocacy. Whether you are just getting started or have been blogging for years, here are some tips and tricks to help your organization build and maintain a better blog. Read more >

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Little improvement on food marketing to children

Children in the U.S. continue to grow up in environments saturated by food and beverage marketing, the bulk of it for foods low in nutrients and high in calories, sugars, salt or fats. In spite of the threat this poses to kids' health, the food industry has balked at adopting even voluntary guidelines to improve its marketing practices. As BMSG's Lori Dorfman and CSPI's Margo Wootan show in this article, addressing an issue of this magnitude will require an international commitment to healthy food marketing policies.

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Issue 20: Struggling to breathe: How a health department is working with community members to reduce air pollution and improve health equity in Oakland

If you want to reduce and prevent health inequities, then you have to tackle their root social, economic and political causes. For busy health departments with tight deadlines and funding constraints, this no easy task. But, as one health department in California's Alameda County is showing, the results are worth it. And a few key strategies like collaborating with community and engaging the media can improve prospects for success.

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Video: Overcoming challenges and constructing effective responses to sugary drinks

At the 2012 National Soda Summit, BMSG Director Lori Dorfman speaks about soda industry marketing as part of a panel on sugary drinks. Dorfman discusses common opposition arguments to policy interventions, lessons from research on public opinion, and framing insights from tobacco control.

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Youth and minority marketing

At the 2012 National Soda Summit in Washington, D.C., BMSG's Andrew Cheyne discusses why soda companies target children of color, the tactics they use to target market to African American and Latino youth, and how marketers are pushing the boundaries with multicultural youth-focused messages.

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News coverage of child sexual abuse and prevention, 2007-2009

News media coverage of child sexual abuse can help policymakers and the public understand what must be done to prevent future abuse, but coverage tends to focus on extreme cases. So how do the media frame child sexual abuse in the absence of high-profile cases? In this article, BMSG's Pamela Mejia, Andrew Cheyne and Lori Dorfman present an analysis of newspaper coverage of the issue and offer recommendations to help advocates shape reporting in ways that highlight the need for prevention.

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Media advocacy: A strategy for helping communities change policy

Policy determines the structure of society and the rules by which we live. In this chapter, part of the 3rd edition of Community Organizing and Community Building for Health and Welfare, Lori Dorfman and Priscilla Gonzalez show how communities can use media advocacy to shape policy and influence social conditions and environments in ways that support health.

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