Survey Reports That TV, Movies Play Key Roles in Teaching Children Good Hygiene


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A nationwide survey of parents with children under the age of 15 indicates that TV and movies play a significant role in educating children about good hygiene.

"Children's programming can play a critical role in educating youth about cleanliness, which is directly linked to today's societal health issues, such as asthma and disease prevention," said Nancy Bock, vice president of education for the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA).

The data - contained in research commissioned by the SDA - shows that 41 percent of parents believe these two media are channels through which their children learn about hygiene. More than one-third of parents (37 percent) claimed that the media influenced them when they were children.

"With broadcast, cable and satellite networks providing 24/7 children's programming, there is a wonderful opportunity for the creative community to incorporate common sense hygiene and cleaning messages into storylines," added Bock.

The vast majority of surveyed parents (93 percent) believe that the single most likely place children learn about hygiene is at home. But respondents to SDA's National Cleaning Survey cited a number of other sources of information conveying hygiene messages to kids (choices not limited to one):

· Classrooms (70 percent)

· Physicians (54 percent)

· Self-learned (50 percent)

· Books, Newspapers or Magazines (42 percent)

· Friends (35 percent)

"It is increasingly vital that children fully understand and practice good hygiene behaviors. Teaching children these important life skills can make a world of difference to their improved health," Bock concluded.

The independent consumer research was completed in April 2004 on behalf of SDA by International Communications Research (ICR). ICR questioned 557 American parents of children under the age of 15. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.15 percent. A summary of the results is available on SDA's website at

Since 1926, SDA has provided educational materials on the benefits of good hygiene practices and their relation to public health. One of the SDA's ongoing programs is a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): "Healthy Schools, Healthy People: It's A SNAP."

SNAP - the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention - challenges middle schools to help develop programs that make hand hygiene a priority for students, teachers, school health personnel, administrators, and parents. For information on participating in SNAP, log on to

The Soap and Detergent Association is the non-profit trade association representing manufacturers of household, industrial, and institutional cleaning products; their ingredients; and finished packaging, and oleochemical producers. SDA members produce more than 90 percent of the cleaning products marketed in the U.S.

Source: Soap and Detergent Association

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