Some 41 percent of these children are overweight or obese—more than double the national average for children between the ages of 2 and 19.
Nursing Researcher Illustrates Healthy Habits
Assistant Professor Jill Kilanowski uses comic book-style storytelling to spread the message about healthy living
While they might not be able to fly or leap tall buildings, two cartoon moms are playing heroes in a new comic book designed to encourage kids to make healthier choices.
The characters at the center of Small Changes Big Results share the same concerns about childhood obesity as their real-life counterparts in Latino farm working families, according to Jill Kilanowski, PhD, APRN, an assistant professor at the nursing school and certified pediatric nurse practitioner, who has been studying children from migrant camps since 2004. Some 41 percent of these children are overweight or obese—more than double the national average for children between the ages of 2 and 19, according to the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. As part of her work, Kilanowski set out to find a way to promote healthier lifestyle choices among migrant children.
In the families Kilanowski studies, the mothers traditionally prepare the meals, giving them enormous influence over their families' eating habits. The story—told both in English and Spanish—follows a conversation between two mothers about how to institute healthy changes with guidance from a migrant clinic nurse practitioner. It offers tips about exercising and making small diet modifications like switching from popular animal fats to healthier cooking oils, not skipping breakfast and eating more vegetables and whole grains.
"The comic is about making changes for the whole family," Kilanowski says.
See more of the picture: Read excerpts from Small Changes Big Results.