In a new study, researchers made online comic strips designed to encourage girls to make better food preferences that would boost their physical fitness.
Behavioural science researcher and assistant professor of paediatrics Deborah Thompson and a team of colleagues created the comic strips-based "Food, Fun, and Fitness Internet Program for Girls" for 78 African American girls age 8 to 10.
The cartoon personalities struggle with meeting the same food and fitness goals as the volunteers, namely, to eat at least five servings a day of fruit, veggies, and/or 100-percent fruit juice; drink at least five glasses of water; and devote more time to physical activity. After watching the comics, volunteers set diet and physical activity goals and reported their success from the previous week.
Results of the study indicated high log-on rates, low dropout rates, and statistically significant increases in consumption of fruit, vegetables and 100-percent fruit juice, and in time spent in healthful physical activity, according to Thompson.
The results were published in the journals Health Education Research in 2007 and Preventive Medicine in 2008.