Drs. May May Leung and Ann Gaba, from the CUNY SPH Nutrition Program, published a creative approach to promoting fruit consumption among middle-school students. The authors describe their qualitative study using manga comics (Japanese comic art) as a way to give students enjoyable and understandable public health messages. Focus groups were conducted to better understand such topics as enjoyable components of manga comics and important health concepts. The research was based on the idea that an appealing storyline, identifiable characters and evidence-based behaviors are mechanisms through which entertainment-education in the form of a manga comic could promote positive behavior change. Addressing childhood obesity is a complex public health problem. As a popular reading trend for U.S. youth, manga comics hold promise as a potentially engaging and entertaining behavior change vehicle for youth living in a multi-media environment. It is a promising format to help educate younger populations and those with lower literacy skills.
The article was published in February in The Open Nutrition Journal.