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The prevailing image of the typical comic book reader has long been defined by the image of a slovenly, overweight, be-ponytailed man-child typically devoid of social grace and covered in a light dusting of Fritos crumbs. Now, a team of Louisiana librarians are seeking to change that by using the comic book form to fend off obesity where it begins: at childhood.
Thanks to a grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region, LSU Health Shreveport medical librarians Talicia Tarver and Deidra Woodson were able to put together a sixty-six page comic book entitled Captain Fit, following the adventures of a superhero who wages a never-ending battle against obesity and the schemes of his arch-nemesis Sweet Tooth while educating a young boy named Malik on how he can improve his health.
Captain Fit was composed over a period of six months in collaboration with artist Nick Fechter, a graphic design student from Louisiana State University’s Shreveport campus. The book was released through LSU Health Shreveport today and is available online at the organization’s website.
The book is part of an ongoing campaign by the university’s medical department to educate children as to the dangers of obesity, a problem which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, has doubled and tripled among children and adolescents in the last thirty years.
When asked why they chose the comic book format to deliver this information to kids, the team cited the growing appreciation of comic books as a form suited to educational settings, telling NPR’s Red River Radio that “A lot of teachers, and even professors, are using comic books — either characters or the books themselves — as a way to teach literacy about a variety of topics, especially science,” Tarver said. “There are some professors who are using comic books to teach physics and biology. When you do it in a way that’s fun and engages their creativity the concepts seem to stick.”
Captain fit will be distributed through the LSU Health Shreveport’s Department of Pediatrics’ Reach Out and Read program.
Source: Red River Radio