Study: Tailored Games Encourage Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

December 8, 2010 -

A study published online and set to appear in the pages of the January 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that games can be used to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Researchers are looking for new ways to combat the rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in young people. One of the ways to combat this is an increased intake of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, and water. Researchers hypothesized going into this study that video games designed to support healthy lifestyles would have a positive effect on children who played them.

"Serious video games offer promise of innovative channels for effective behavior change," writes Tom Baranowski, PhD, from the Agricultural Research Service Children's Nutrition Research Center, US Department of Agriculture, at the Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas, and colleagues. "Once a child's attention has been attracted, modeling, tailoring, and feedback can increase personal relevance; in addition, games add fun."

The study monitored 133 children, ages 10 - 12 years, with body mass indexes between the 50th and 95th percentiles. Using computers, 103 participants played 2 games called "Escape From Diab" and "Nanoswarm: Invasion From Inner Space." B games were specifically designed to support social cognition, self-determination, and persuasion.

A control group of 50 children played games with diet and physical activity themes on popular Web sites. Each group underwent four weight, body composition, and physical activity assessments immediately after completion of Escape From Diab, immediately after Nanoswarm, and two months after the trial ended. Participants were paid $25 for the first evaluation, with $5 more added incrementally to each of the subsequent reviews.

During the study, the children reported food intake to registered dieticians and game activity was verified through email, call-ins, and during equipment repair requests.

The study found that children playing Escape From Diab and Nanoswarm ate approximately 0.67 more servings per day of fruits (including 100 percent juice) and vegetables (P = .018) than those in the control group. The games had no clear affect on water intake, and did not "result in greater moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (P = .496) or lower body mass index (P = .107)."

"Fruit and vegetable intake and water consumption and physical activity were still below the minimum recommendations, indicating that more work is needed," the authors write.

The study did have its fair share of limitations too including self-reporting, limited size of the study group due to funding limitations, the effectiveness of the monetary incentives in motivating study subjects, and the small increase in "sedentary behavior."

"Serious video games hold promise, but their effectiveness and mechanisms of change among youth need to be investigated more thoroughly," the study authors write. "Research is needed on the optimal design of video game components to maximize change."

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the US Department of Agriculture supported the study. Study author Richard Buday is the President of Archimage, the creators of Escape From Diab and Nano.

Source: MedScape


 
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PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
Papa MidnightAh, so it was downtime. I've been seeing post appear in my RSS feed, but I was unable to access GamePolitics today across several ISPs.12/18/2014 - 6:06pm
james_fudgeSorry for the downtime today, folks.12/18/2014 - 5:54pm
 

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