Childhood obesity continues to be a serious clinical and public health issue in the United States, with disproportionate rates among low-income, minority children. This complex epidemic has been attributed to various dietary behaviors, such as decreased fruit and vegetable consumption and increased sugary drink and energy-dense snack consumption. As food preferences established in childhood often continue into adulthood, it is important to intervene at this critical period. Effective, yet innovative interventions need o be designed to capture the attention of children living in a multi-media environment. Interactive, technology-based approaches are emerging as promising tools for supporting health-behavior change. However, knowledge gaps in the usability and usefulness of such applications still exist, limiting their potential effectiveness. To fill this gap, we propose to conduct a pilot and feasibility study entitled Intervention INC: Interactive Nutrition Comics for urban minority youth, which aims to design and develop a human-centered, interactive, internet/mobile- enabled dietary self-management intervention focused on reducing childhood obesity risk. Using an innovative narrative-based comic and a human-centered approach during the design and development process, this intervention will be tailored to meet the needs and preferences of the at-risk population of low-income, minority, inner-city children ages 10 to 12.
In Aims 1 and 2, formative research will be conducted with the intended population and their parents to inform the development of an engaging and appealing intervention, while Aim 3 will assess the intervention's feasibility and acceptability and explore if this interactive, internet/mobile-enabld dietary self-management intervention improves knowledge, attitudes and food preferences associated with the targeted behaviors to reduce childhood obesity risk, using a 2-group randomized study design. We hypothesize that children who participate in an interactive, internet/mobile-enabled dietary self-management intervention will report improved knowledge, outcome expectancies, self-efficacy and food preferences related to targeted dietary behaviors than children in a control group, who will only receive internet/mobile internet access. We believe that Intervention INC is unique given its focus on innovative approaches to enhance adoption and engagement. It also has strong
Intervention INC: Interactive Nutrition Comics for urban minority youth is a pilot and feasibility study of an innovative human-centered, interactive, internet/mobile-enabled dietary self-management intervention, tailored to the needs and preferences of low-income, minority, inner-city children ages 10 to 12, a high risk population for childhood obesity. The proposed study will examine usability and usefulness of the newly designed intervention, with the aim of enhancing its adoption, engagement and use, and explore the intervention's impact on knowledge, attitudes and food preferences related to childhood obesity risk. Intervention INC has strong public health relevance as it aims to not only reduce childhood obesity risk, but has significant long-term implications for improved overall quality of life and reduction of adult morbidity and mortality risk for the vulnerable urban minority population.