Television Documentary Impact on Iranian-Islamic Nutritional Behavior Promotion; A Case Study of "Family Lunch" TV Show

Document Type : Original Article



2 Assistant Professor Qom University of Medical Sciences

3 Sociology, Assistant Professor of Voice & Qom University


Extended Abstract
Introduction and statement of the problem:
Nutrition has a direct effect on human health. Humans have come to the right nutrition through centuries of experience (Sedighi, 2007, p. 45). Urbanization, the rise of incomes, which accompanied by changes in cultural factors and the media, plays an essential role in the transition of nutrition to its new form. This new model has adverse effects on humans that include various diseases (stroke, hypertension, cancer, etc.) (Madanat, 2011). The media's influence on people's behavior and beliefs are enormous. People, influenced by advertising and media, change their behavior in choosing food to consume. They may not feel the real risks that the media is supposed to explain; they are often feeding on unhealthy food and carry unhealthy eating habits (Seil, 2008: 343). Now, we argue here that TV is the most popular mass media in Iran. Besides, we know a significant proportion of television audiences consist of teenagers and Iranian youth.  Large amounts of television ads are directly or indirectly target them (Esmie et al., 2010). In Iran, the "Family Lunch" TV show, which is the subject of this study, is an educational and entertaining documentary that, with the emblem of "Happiness is your right," invites all Iranian families to take part in a family competition. This documentary TV show educates a particular lifestyle indirectly while competition is going on. One of the factors related to such a lifestyle is nutrition. "Family lunch" documentary has three components, including physical health, spiritual health, and traditional medicine.  They project nutritional behavior that is educated to audiences through TV show competition. Qom city is one of the most important cities in Iran, which is a developing one. Every year, immigrants from all over the country and the world travel to Qom to live there. The media's impact on the various aspects of lifestyle in the city is tangible, and dietary behaviors are no exception. Therefore, paying attention to dietary patterns and social factors associated with nutritional patterns helps us to quickly explain the implications of the diet as a desirable one for society. The objective of this study here was to investigate how the documentary TV shows about Iranian-Islamic nutritional behavior affect Iranian families.  We have done such research using a case study of the "Family Lunch" TV show.
Theoretical background:
Gerbner et al. (1980) believed that the cultivation effects of media are well evident through society. According to the Cultivation theory, television tends to announce interconnected messages that display the same lesson repeatedly. In response to critiques about his theory, and that some argued that "other variables are involved in the impact of television on viewers," Gerbner added two other concepts, "Streaming and Expansion." Such concepts refer to the fact that watching too much television does not have the same effect on all people and has different results for different social groups (Surin & Tankard, 2002: 39).
We can here introduce the concept of Iranian-Islamic Nutrition Behavior.  Nutritional behaviors are a collection of customs, beliefs, thoughts, and traditions of nations in a variety of fields, such as cooking and food preserving, choosing food types, how they are distributed among age groups and tendencies from the viewpoint of interest or lack of interest in various foods. Nutritional behaviors or dietary patterns vary in cultures, races, sexes, and geographic regions (Sedighi, 2007). Islam is a religion of welfare that covers all social issues, including food and nutrition. The health of food, in Iranian tradition, and ultimately health itself is crucial. Cooking in an appropriate place, healthy food; also, eating it in certain and appropriate times and conditions must be planned. The culture of classic Iranian cuisine, the conditions of greetings, loving, feeling of relativeness, expressing issues and problems, and even family consulting, provides a distinctive style of food culture by having special conventions for cooking and eating (Hassanzadeh, p. 90, 2008).
This research is descriptive research that is conducted by the survey method. The statistical sample included some 500 individuals who live in the city of Qom.  They were from different cultural backgrounds, and we considered them as two groups of control (a group who did not see Family Lunch TV show) and experiment (those who saw). We selected the samples based on a simple random sampling method. We used a researcher-made questionnaire (12 questions) that had three sections in order to collect the data.  The three sections included nutrition and physical health, nutrition, and spiritual wellbeing.  The nutrition part had to sections: classic and traditional medicine. Fifteen experts approved the formal validity of the questionnaires in the field of religion, statistics, media, and nutrition. The reliability of the questionaire was confirmed by using Cronbach's alpha coefficient, which amounted to α = 0.84 out of 1. We used the Pearson correlation coefficient, independent t-test, and SPSS-24 in order to analyze the results.
Analysis and Discussion:
Demographic results indicated that 49.7% were male, 50.3% were female. Also, 87.6% were married, and 12.4% were single. Most of them in the experiment group had a bachelor's degree with 36.4%. The results showed that the maximum effect of the TV show was traditional medicine with a rate of d=0.298, and the least was nutrition and spiritual health with the inappropriate of d=0.093. Also, the effect of TV conditions on the promotion of the Islamic Iranian style was d=0.33.
We used The correlation matrix relationship to determine the correlation between the variables (nutrition and physical health, nutrition, spiritual health, and traditional medicine).  We wanted to identify whether the promotion of Iranian Islamic style nourishment among the control and experiment groups indicated if there is a high correlation.  The findings indicated that there was a strong correlation between those variables, on the one hand, and the promotion of Iranian Islamic nutrition, on the other. According to the results, the most correlation between the function of nutrition and traditional medicine with the promotion of Iranian Islamic nourishment. Family Lunches TV show played a significant role in promoting the function of traditional medicine (paying attention to the temperament of people, paying attention to the quality of food, the principle of balance observance, and food reform). Finally, after the study of "Family Lunch" TV show, based on the theoretical model of the concepts of this study, it can be concluded that television documentaries with their various educational and research capabilities can play an essential role in cultural development, provided that the directors of them, both in the content and structural dimensions focus on the main problems of the people lifestyle, and produce an appropriate TV shows after the understanding of the form and content.
Keywords: Family Lunch TV show, Iranian-Islamic food culture, Media, Nutritional behavior, Traditional medicine

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