Substantial research has associated exposure to entertainment media with increased levels of interpersonal violence, risky sexual behavior, body image distortion, substance abuse, and obesity. The objective of this study was to determine what pediatric residency programs are teaching trainees about media and the influence of media on the physical and mental health of children and adolescents.


Survey of residency curricula, consisting of 17 items about children's exposure to media, including television, movies, popular music, computer/video games and the Internet, the effects of this exposure on specific health risks, and associations between program characteristics and media education in the residency curriculum.


Directors of the 209 accredited pediatric residency programs in the United States.


Two hundred four programs (97.6%) responded. Fifty-eight programs (28.4%) offered formal education on 1 or more types of media; 60 programs (29.4%) discussed the influences of media when teaching about specific health conditions. Residents in 96 programs (47.1%) were encouraged to discuss media use with patients and parents; 13 programs (6.4%) taught media literacy as an intervention. Among program characteristics, only media training received by program directors was significantly associated with inclusion of media in residency curricula.


Despite increasing awareness of media influence on child health, less than one-third of US pediatric residency programs teach about media exposure. Developing a pediatric media curriculum and training pediatric residency directors or designated faculty may be a resource-effective means of improving health for children growing up in a media-saturated environment.

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