sealPurdue News

September 1994

Steady diet of TV has spoiled college students, professor says

College students who grew up glued to the television expect their classes to be entertaining and prefer TV to reading, says Yahya Kamalipour, associate professor of mass communications at Purdue Calumet in Hammond. This generation of students also has trouble paying attention to lectures, which are not full of movement, color, sound and visual effects like TV. Kamalipour and two colleagues did a national study of college students and TV. They found that the students relate more to pictures than to words, and they expect tricky life problems to have fast solutions and easy answers such as those offered in TV commercials and soap operas. CONTACT: Kamalipour, (219) 989-2880.

The hotel industry's betting on gambling

Gambling's new-found "family acceptance" is luring more and more major hotel chains into the game, says a Purdue hotel industry expert. Carl Braunlich, assistant professor in the Department of Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional and Tourism Management, says gambling revenues in Las Vegas were leveling off five years ago when developers there decided to revamp the city's image. With the opening of "family-oriented" attractions, gambling revenues started going back up in that city. Braunlich says that's not the case in Atlantic City, where the focus is still on adult entertainment. Casinos are by far the most profitable operations run by hotels and represent the biggest growth area in the industry. As gambling spreads across the nation, hotel chains such as Hilton and Sheraton are wagering that more future profits will be found on casino floors. Braunlich says 16 cents of every dollar bet is won by the casino: "In Atlantic City, if a casino doesn't 'win' $1 million on any given summer Saturday night, then that's considered a bad night." CONTACT: Braunlich, (765) 494-8031.

Program helps decrease incidence of low-birthweight babies

Improving the health of infants is the goal of a Purdue program that is reducing the number of low-birthweight babies in Indiana and nationwide. With National Child Health Day coming up Oct. 3, the Have a Healthy Baby Program can point to having reached 3,417 pregnant teens and at-risk adults in Indiana. Nationwide, 33 states have purchased the program curriculum. Of the Indiana babies born to participants since the program began in 1990, only 2.4 percent were low birthweight, compared to Indiana's average of 6.7 percent. Karen Konzelmann, program director, says the six-lesson nutrition education program helps decrease neonatal mortality, results in fewer low-birthweight infants and, therefore, decreases days of hospitalization and long-term health care costs. For example, the first month of hospital care for an underweight newborn in Indiana can cost as much as $60,000 more than that of a normal-weight child; in the underweight child's first year of life, additional health costs may reach $400,000. CONTACT: Konzelmann, (765) 494-8228; Donna Vandergraff, acting director, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, (765) 494-8228. B-roll available, (765) 494-2096.

Professor: Media should recognize effect of violence on children

Network executives who argue that television violence is benign resemble tobacco company executives who have told us that the medical case against cigarette smoking is inconclusive, says a Purdue professor, who will take part in the Oct. 3-4 International Conference on Violence in the Media. The conference in New York City will feature news media professionals, government officials and academics from around the world. Purdue Professor Glenn G. Sparks will speak about children's emotional reactions to violence in the media. "There clearly is a causal link between viewing television violence and aggressive behavior," he says. "Also, violent programs often frighten children, and the impact can result in lingering anxieties that remain for days, weeks, months or even years after viewing." CONTACT: Sparks, (765) 494-3316. Copies of Sparks' paper will be available, (765) 494-2096.

Teen-age girls' attitudes toward exercise need a workout

Teen-age girls just can't seem to get motivated to exercise regularly, says Marlene Tappe, associate professor of health education at Purdue. Her study of Illinois high-school boys and girls found that the girls often see themselves as less competent and less physically able than boys. Poor or mediocre grades in gym class also diminish or eliminate girls' enjoyment of physical activity. Tappe says the negative attitude can interfere with the girls' developing healthy exercise patterns for the rest of their lives. CONTACT: Tappe, (765) 494-9112. Black-and-white feature photo of Tappe available, (765) 494-2096.

At your service, please

As business becomes more competitive and consumers tighten their purse strings, customer service will be the key to attracting and keeping customers, says the executive director of Purdue's Center for Customer-Driven Quality. Jon Anton, professor of consumer sciences and retailing, says customer-service representatives and managers will be in hot demand in coming years. Today more firms are appointing vice presidents and other high-level managers in charge of customer satisfaction, "which was virtually unheard of five years ago," Anton says. In addition to conducting research, the 3-year-old center also serves as a training center and a service organization, performing tasks that would be too expensive for companies to do in-house, such as processing customer data, measuring customer satisfaction and screening applicants for customer service representative positions. CONTACT: Anton, (765) 494-8314.

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