Many people in their school years like Manga comics. They predate the American kind by about 150 years, are generally more complex and even older American adults got an introduction to it in cartoon versions of "Astro Boy."
In recent decades, they have grown in popularity so it was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of social engineering using them. A recent pilot program in Brooklyn used minority students and found that exposure to Manga promoting fruit intake significantly improved healthy snack selection. Conclusion: we can solve obesity by using a Transportation-Imagery Model
and giving away some comic books. According to the Transportation-Imagery Model, persuasion of a story's messages occurs because an individual is transported/immersed into the narrative world, and images in a story influence behavior, which is why Manga was selected for experiment.
The pilot program was 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%.
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). 61% of children in the comic group chose a healthy snack after reading, opposed to just 35% of the control group.
The authors say that approximately 30% to 45% of US children between the ages of 6 and 18 years do not meet recommended fruit consumption levels. Because this was a pilot study, studies with a larger sample size are necessary, as are studies examining the effects of more traditional media.
Citation: May May Leung, Gina Tripicchio, Alen Agaronov, Ningqi Hou, 'Manga Comic Influences Snack Selection in Black and Hispanic New York City Youth ', Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2013.11.004