Please note that this is my Week 3 Blog Response, PodCast and Thesis Statement.
Communication scholars study a wide variety of topics depending upon their area of specialty and interest.
Some communication scholars study communications between men and women and the differences between their styles of communication. When I was in high school, I actually wrote my senior thesis on Communication Styles Between Men and Women because the topic interested me greatly. At the time, Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus by Dr. Gray was just released and I read that book in detail trying to find the secret. I pulled out my tattered copy of Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus and blew out the spiderwebs to write this post and found words of wisdom that I had long forgot. Dr. Gray says, “The Martian and Venusian languages had the same words, but the way they were used gave different meanings “(1992, 59). Dr. Gray uses the metaphor of different planets to explain the differences in the way men and women communicate. Throughout the book he applies communication theory and communication traditions to his approach.
Another field that communication scholars study is communication styles among families. Family dynamics open the doors wide for communication scholars. The field can be broadly researched or focused on a particular aspect. In an article published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, researchers studied the affect of having difficult conversations among family members and the impact of the health of the relationship. Interestingly enough researchers found that while participant’s feared negative consequences prior to engaging in a difficult conversation, one they had the conversation behind them they felt positive about the result (Keating, Russell, Cornacchione & Smith 2012). This is an example of a small scope of family dynamics in which communication theory can be applied.
Communication scholars can also study communication in the workplace, media, culture and friendships.
I am particularly interested in applying communication theory to study nutrition. Specifically I’m interested in the affect of communications and food marketing tactics to impact our food choices and overall nutrition. I wrote this week in my discussion post about food manufacturers using semiotic tradition, or signs, to communicate misleading information.
I found a shocking statistic when researching my book, Lunch, by me!. Â study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas found that 90 percent of parents would fail at packing at healthy lunch if graded (Children’s Health 2010).
I was surprised and horrified at this statistic and wondered why the majority of parents would pack their child a lunch that didn’t contain enough nutrients, vitamins, calcium, iron and zinc or enough fiber.
Most parents care a lot about their child’s health and nutrition. From my perspective, I believe that the majority of parents know what constitutes healthy eating. Most people know that foods such as chicken nuggets, French fries and Cheetos are nutrient-void and fresh fruits, vegetables and protein contain important nutrients that children need to grow up strong and healthy. Given that parents know that those choices aren’t healthy, why are they packing unhealthy items? It can’t be for lack of knowledge.
In my research I came across an interesting study, which ties right into what we are learning about with communication theory and tradition. A study conducted by Jonathon Schuldt, assistant professor communication and director of Cornell’s Social Cognition and Communication Lab, found that consumers often mistakenly believe a product is healthy if it has a green wrapper (2013).
Food manufactures know that consumers associate a green food label with health food. Therefore they rebrand packaging on foods to purposefully mislead consumers. A study found that 50 percent of consumers use food labeling to help them make purchasing decisions (Gorman 1991).
I’m considering exploring this issue further in my research paper, as I’d like to better understand other uses of communication and marketing that food manufacturer’s use to affect society’s food choices. The United States is in a unique position right now in that we are actually in a time where we see both an obesity epidemic and malnourishment. In an article by Kristen Wartman, she found correlation in her research between obesity and malnourishment (2012). This is one of the reasons why this topic is relevant to me and why I’d like to research it further. I believe that our children are facing a difficult time. According to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, “Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.” (Ogden, Carroll & Flegal, 2012)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obese children are more likely to have pre-diabetes, bone and join problems, sleep apnea, social problems and poor self-esteem (2013).
I think that the communications that our children receive about food have a huge impact on their food choices, and in turn, their weight. I’d like to look into this further to understand this phenomenon.
Additionally, I struggled with my weight my entire life. I was an overweight child, anorexic teen and obese adult. I lost 80 pounds through diet and exercise and have kept it off for five years. I went from being an overweight smoker to a fitness fanatic who has run three marathons, five triathlons and makes fitness a priority everyday. (I quit smoking as well.)
I am grateful for my struggles, as it has made me who I am today, but I also want to better understand how I can prevent this struggle for my children. It is still a challenge everyday to ensure that I maintain a healthy lifestyle. I think that the communications our society receives on body image, food and nutrition affect our weight and have made us an overweight society.
Part 2: Thesis Statement for a Research Topic
“Forrest Gump provides ‘equipment for living’ for those who don’t think they are smart or good enough to achieve success in life.”
Part 3: PodCast on SoundCloud
 Gray, John Ph.D. (1992). Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships. New York: HarperCollins.
 Keating, David M., Russell, Jessica C., Cornacchione, Jennifer & Smith, Sandi W. (April 2, 2013). Family Communication Patterns and Difficult Family Conversations. Journal of Applied Communication Research, Volume 41 (Issue 2), 160-180.
 3 Children’s Health: Rodale Press (July 2010). Tips to pack the perfect school lunch. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32498955/ns/health-childrens_health/t/tips-help-pack-perfect-school-lunch/#.Uf1RIRbT2Vg
 Schuldt, Jonathon P. (February, 27 2013). Does Green Mean Healthy? Nutrition Label Color Affects Perceptions of Healthfulness. Health Communication. DOI:10.1080/10410236.2012.725270
 Gorman, Christine (1991), “The Fight over Food Labels,” Time Magazine, p52-56.
 Wartman, Kristin (June 27, 2012) The Obesity Paradox: Overfed But Undernourished. Civil Eats. Retrieved from http://civileats.com/2012/06/27/the-obesity-paradox-overfed-but-undernourished/
 Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. Journal of the American Medical Association 2012;307(5):483-490