Manga Comics May Help Promote Fruit Consumption Among Youth

According to a New Study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

Released: 10-Feb-2014 4:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior
Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

Citations Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

Newswise — PHILADELPHIA, PA, February 10, 2014 – A recent pilot study in Brooklyn, New York, with minority students found that exposure to Manga comics (Japanese comic art) promoting fruit intake significantly improved healthy snack selection. As snacking accounts for up to 27% of children's daily caloric intake, and childhood obesity has been linked to inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables, the results of this study could have wide-reaching implications.

“Manga comics could be used to promote healthier behaviors and beliefs related to fruit consumption in at-risk youth. The graphics and minimal text make it a promising format to engage younger populations,” said lead author May May Leung, PhD, RD, City University of New York School of Public Health and Hunter College.

The study was set in two after-school programs affiliated with Brooklyn Community Services, a New York City-based nonprofit community organization, in the summer and fall of 2011. It comprised 57 youth, approximately 11 years of age, nearly 90% of whom were either Black/African American or Hispanic and 54% were female. The school districts in the study had greater percentages of students eligible for free lunch (79 and 96%, respectively) compared to the citywide average of 66%.

The researchers used an innovative intervention promoting positive dietary behaviors to capture the attention of youth living in a multimedia environment; specifically, Manga comics, which are Japanese comic art. Manga is a unique form of multimodal narrative media combining visual images and text. According to the Transportation-Imagery Model, persuasion of a story's messages occurs because an individual is ‘‘transported’’ or immersed into the narrative world, and images in a story are impactful in influencing behavior, which is why Manga was selected for this study.

After reading either a Manga comic, titled “Fight for Your Right to Fruit,” or a non-health-related newsletter, children were given the choice between a healthy snack (oranges, grapes, apples, strawberries) or an energy-dense snack (cookies, potato chips, nacho chips, and cheese-filled crackers). Sixty-one percent of children in the comic group chose a healthy snack after reading, opposed to just 35% of the control group.

Approximately 30% to 45% of US children between the ages of 6 and 18 years do not meet recommended fruit consumption levels. Therefore, the results of this study could be useful in promoting healthy decision-making among youth as it relates to food consumption. However, because this was a pilot study, studies with a larger sample size are necessary, as are studies examining the effects of more traditional media.

# # #

NOTES FOR EDITORS
“Manga Comic Influences Snack Selection in Black and Hispanic New York City Youth,” by May May Leung, PhD, RD; Gina Tripicchio, MSEd, MS; Alen Agaronov, MS, RDN; Ningqi Hou, PhD, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2013.11.004, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published online ahead of Volume 46, Issue 2 (March/April 2014) by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Eileen Leahy at 732-238-3628 or jnebmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with the authors, contact May May Leung, PhD, RD, City University of New York School of Public Health at 212-396-7774 or mm.leung@hunter.cuny.edu.

An audio podcast featuring an interview with by May May Leung, PhD, RD, and information specifically for journalists are located at www.jneb.org/content/podcast. Excerpts from the podcast may be reproduced by the media; contact Eileen Leahy to obtain permission.

ABOUT THE JOURNAL OF NUTRITION EDUCATION AND BEHAVIOR (www.jneb.org)
The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), is a refereed, scientific periodical that serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in nutrition education and dietary/physical activity behaviors. The purpose of JNEB is to document and disseminate original research, emerging issues, and practices relevant to nutrition education and behavior worldwide and to promote healthy, sustainable food choices. It supports the society’s efforts to disseminate innovative nutrition education strategies, and communicate information on food, nutrition, and health issues to students, professionals, policy makers, targeted audiences, and the public.

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior features articles that provide new insights and useful findings related to nutrition education research, practice, and policy. The content areas of JNEB reflect the diverse interests of health, nutrition, education, Cooperative Extension, and other professionals working in areas related to nutrition education and behavior. As the Society's official journal, JNEB also includes occasional policy statements, issue perspectives, and member communications.

ABOUT ELSEVIER
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet (www.thelancet.com) and Cell (www.cell.com), and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include ScienceDirect (www.sciencedirect.com), Scopus (www.scopus.com), SciVal (http://info.scival.com) Reaxys (www.elsevier.com/reaxys), ClinicalKey (www.clinicalkey.com) and Mosby’s Suite (www.confidenceconnected.com), which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, helping research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier (www.elsevier.com) employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc (www.reedelsevier.com), a world leading provider of professional information solutions. The group employs more than 30,000 people, including more than 15,000 in North America. Reed Elsevier Group plc is owned equally by two parent companies, Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. Their shares are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RUK and ENL.


Comment/Share