Latest Fotonovela from USC Tackles the Obesity Epidemic

ObesityThe rate of obesity is higher than ever, and children are especially at risk, with over 20 percent of 6 to 11-year-olds qualifying as obese.

With these startling statistics in mind, Associate Professor Mel Baron has released the seventh book in his Spanish-English fotonovela series, “Rosa Out of Control.”

The comic-book style educational tool tells the story of Rosa, the single mother of two children. All three of them are overweight, and Rosa is forced to confront the health implications of this when her son’s gym teacher approaches her about his weight gain and physical inactivity.

Rosa, who has held firm in her belief that “chubby” means “healthy,” soon realizes that changes need to be made to reduce both her and her children’s weights. She decides to visit her local pharmacist to find out ways to do this.

“The best way to lose weight, and keep it off, is to change your diet by including more vegetables, fruits and lean proteins in your meals, and to exercise at least 60 minutes a day, five days a week,” advises her pharmacist.

The pharmacist also advises Rosa that the best way to help her children to lose weight is to set an example for them by eating healthy foods and exercising. She suggests making simple food swaps, such as trading soda for water and swapping red meat for poultry and fish.

The fotonovela also informs the reader that overweight children have a greater chance of becoming overweight and obese adults, which puts them at a higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other health problems.

In the end, Rosa, her daughter, and eventually her son, begin to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Baron utilizes the fotonovela format to provide information to populations that are at-risk in a culturally sensitive way. These health education tools fill knowledge gaps, and convey information in a way that encourages behavioral changes.

This title will join the six others produced by Baron and his team at the School of Pharmacy. The other fotonovelas include “Forgotten Memories,” which focuses on dementia; “Fiesta Fiasco,” which deals with medication compliance; “Oscar and the Giant,” which addresses pediatric asthma; “Sweet Temptations,” which addresses diabetes; “What My Girlfriend Didn’t Know,” about birth defects; and “Secret Feelings,” regarding depression.

“Rosa Out of Control” was written by Josefina Lopez, Gregory Molina, Gabriela Lopez de Dennis, Estefany Zendejas and Niraj Sharma, photographed by Mike Powers, produced by Gregory Molina and directed by Mel Baron.

Support for the project was provided by the USC School of Pharmacy, L.A. Care, National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, USC Good Neighbor Campaign, Good Neighbor Pharmacy and CVS Caremark.