255496 A true challenge for any superhero: The impact of a comic book child obesity prevention program

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paul Wesley Branscum, PhD, RD , Department of Health and Exercise Science, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Manoj Sharma, MBBS, MCHES, PhD , Health Promotion & Education, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Lihshing Leigh Wang, PhD, RD , Educational Studies Program, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Brad Wilson, PhD , Health Promotion and Education, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Liliana Guyler, PhD, RD , Health Promotion and Education, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
This study evaluated the Comics for Health program, a childhood obesity prevention intervention based on social cognitive theory (SCT), and compared it to a similar knowledge-based intervention. Third, fourth and fifth grade children from twelve afterschool programs were randomly assigned into either a theory-based (n=37), or knowledge-based (n=34) group. For the theory-based intervention, various pedagogical techniques (e.g. role-play, modeling) were used to mediate changes in key SCT constructs, while the knowledge-based intervention focused solely on learning facts related to health. Both programs also helped children learn aspects of comic book creation, and culminated with each child creating their own original comic-book or strip. A pretest, post-test and three-month follow-up test were conducted to evaluate the programmatic effects on BMI-percentile, four obesity-related behaviors (e.g. fruit & vegetable consumption), and three constructs of social cognitive theory (e.g. self-efficacy) related to each behavior. Using a nested-design, separate repeated-measures ANOVAs were used and improvements in the main effect over time were found for fruit and vegetable consumption (p<0.005), physical activities (p<0.004), water and sugar-free beverage consumption (p<0.001) and self-efficacy for fruit and vegetable consumption (p<0.015) and physical activities (p<0.009), however there were no significant interaction (group x time) effects found. Effect sizes (as measured by Cohen's f) were also mostly medium, ranging from 0.17 to 0.31. Process evaluations were used to aid in the interpretation of the results. This intervention may be a viable prevention program for use in multi-component intervention efforts in the future.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how comic books can be utilized in health promotion and education. 2. Explain the need for theory-based health promoting interventions aimed at childhood obesity prevention. 3.Identify and describe practices to surmount limitations noted for previous childhood health promotion programs targeting childhood obesity. 4. Apply constructs from the social cognitive theory to promote behaviors that have been associated with the prevention of childhood overweight.

Keywords: Children, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed, implemented and evaluated the intervention in this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.