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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Video Games and Children's Health.

How do we get children to eat their vegetables and drink more water? Fact-filled TV adverts? ...Funny radio characters? ...Computer games?

Well maybe so!

Two games, "Escape from Diab" and "Nanoswarm: Invasion from Inner Space" are video games specifically designed to lower risks of type 2 diabetes and obesity by changing behaviors.

"Diab and Nanoswarm were designed as epic video game adventures, comparable to commercial quality video games. These games incorporated a broad diversity of behavior change procedures woven in and around engrossing stories. The games motivated players to substantially improve diet behaviors," according to lead investigator Tom Baranowski, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service supported Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine. "Serious video games hold promise, but their effectiveness and mechanisms of change among youth need to be more thoroughly investigated."

Amazingly they found that children actually ate more fruit and veg per day, however it didn't increase the amount of water they drank or physical activity. These children basically wanted to sit inside, play computer games and eat an apple! I guess it's better than a chocolate bar!

Oh well, you can't win them all!

But it's a huge step forward in using a medium that children really like to get them to lead healthier lives!

Link to Paper

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