Investigators at the C. Everett Koop Institute examine the powerful influences that drive unhealthy, disease-causing behaviors, such as tobacco use and the overconsumption of alcohol and highly processed foods. Through rigorous scientific research, the Koop Institute studies the effects of advertising, entertainment media, and individuals’ own genetics on these behaviors, and advocates for policies that protect public health, especially in children.
Many Dartmouth students contribute to research at the Koop Institute, as Diane Gilbert-Diamond, ScD, explains in this video about unhealthy food marketing to children.
Read about the Koop Scholars program for recent graduates. You can make a gift to support Dartmouth students and recent graduates from Dartmouth and other institutions as they learn the ins and outs of prevention science and co-author peer-reviewed scientific papers.
Koop Institute researchers, who hail from multiple departments across Dartmouth, have published dozens of scientific studies, exposing the role of advertising in youth behaviors. Among their findings:
- Teens who use e-cigarettes are highly likely to take up conventional smoking. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to restrict sales of flavored e-cigarettes to teens.
- Unhealthy food advertisements trigger brain responses that prompt young children to eat more, even in the absence of hunger, and the effects are greater for children who are genetically predisposed to obesity. These findings form the foundation for initiatives to reduce food marketing to young children.
- Underage youth who remember and like television alcohol advertisements drink alcohol and engage in binge and hazardous drinking earlier than their peers. Koop researchers are now working to summarize all the scientific literature on alcohol marketing and underage drinking to provide the basis for stronger policies that will further constrain alcohol marketing.