MUSCLED superheroes burst from the pages of comic books in tight-fitting costumes as they fight the forces of evil.
But an award-winning health expert from Locks Heath has launched a comic where plump heroes fight fat.
Former Brookfield Community School pupil Dr Oli Williams was in Gosport to present The Weight of Expectation, illustrated by award-winning artist Jade Sarson.
The book documents Dr Williams’ year-long project with three weight-loss groups in one of the most deprived parts of the UK.
Dr Williams, who spoke at Elson Library yesterday, hopes to challenge stereotypes around weight and health, calling current definitions ‘very crude’.
He said: ‘Body-mass-index – BMI – is a very crude indicator of health.
‘If you are physically active, you can be obese and healthy.’
His work comes as new data reveals that more than 36 per cent of Year 6 pupils in Portsmouth are overweight.
According to the World Health Association, more than 25 per cent of adults in the UK are obese.
Dr Williams, formerly a striker for Gosport County under-18s football team from 2003 to 2005, added: ‘I used to train at the Mountbatten Centre, and I used to work in the Spirit Health Club.
‘As a local boy, I’m aware a lot of people are struggling with this issue.’
Earlier this year, Dr Williams’ work to make his research more accessible received a British Science Association award, previously won by Professor Brian Cox.
The research associate at the University of Leicester said: ‘Stigma is inappropriate, stigma does not work.
‘Sometimes people are struggling to maintain their weight. People at the groups would say: “Imagine how big I’d be if I didn’t come to these groups”.’
An exhibition held at Gosport Discovery Centre and Elson Library showcased the researcher’s comic.
He presented a lecture at both centres on Thursday and Friday. There are a limited number of free comics still available from the libraries.