Article

Let's Get Technical! Gaming and Technology for Weight Control and Health Promotion in Children

USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, 1100 Bates Street, Houston, TX 77030-2600, USA.
Childhood obesity (Print) 02/2012; 8(1):34-7. DOI: 10.1089/chi.2011.0103
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Most children, including lower socioeconomic status and ethnic minority children, play video games, use computers, and have cell phones, and growing numbers have smart phones and electronic tablets. They are comfortable with, even prefer, electronic media. Many expect to be entertained and have a low tolerance for didactic methods. Thus, health promotion with children needs to incorporate more interactive media. Interactive media for weight control and health promotion among children can be broadly classified into web-based educational/therapeutic programs, tailored motivational messaging systems, data monitoring and feedback systems, active video games, and diverse forms of interactive multimedia experiences involving games. This article describes the primary characteristics of these different technological methods; presents the strengths and weaknesses of each in meeting the needs of children of different ages; emphasizes that we are in the earliest stages of knowing how best to design these systems, including selecting the optimal requisite behavioral change theories; and identifies high-priority research issues. Gaming and technology offer many exciting, innovative opportunities for engaging children and promoting diet and physical activity changes that can contribute to obesity prevention and weight loss maintenance. Research needs to clarify optimal procedures for effectively promoting change with each change procedure.

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    • ", © Copyright by authors, Published under agreement with IARIA -www.iaria.org that can contribute to obesity prevention and healthier lifestyle [25]. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is a fast growing number of behavior change support systems (BCSS) aiming at supporting a healthy lifestyle. Existing lifestyle coaching services offer individual users access to web portals where they can communicate about a growing number of ingredients of everyday life concern: physical activity, nutrition, medication, mood, sleep and sexual health. Mobile technology in combination with body worn sensors support user's awareness of their physical condition and lifestyle. Despite the large number of available lifestyle interventions and pilot trials, only very few are successfully transferred into the real health care practice. Low usability and lack of transparency on the reliability and trustworthiness of the information are just a few examples of the major barriers for successful implementation.Traditional metric for measuring effects of behavior change support system are not suited for early stage health technologies. Professionals from the field of health and social psychology, and potential end users should be involved not only in the design and effects evaluation of BCSS, but also in the iterative process evaluation of these systems. Qualitative evaluation studies focused on the user experiences with technology can help researchers to understand what persuasive features can enhance adherence, motivate people and how this technology should be further developed to optimally match the needs of real users in daily healthcare practice. Based on two user studies, we present general guidelines for design and evaluation of lifestyle support systems with personalized virtual coaching. The first field study focuses on design and evaluation of a mobile physical activity coaching system. The second user study focuses on design factors that influence the attitudes of high-risk adolescents towards virtual coaching in mobile eHealth applications and social media. We present a new approach that integrates an animated digital coach in an activity monitoring lifestyle change support system. The main contribution of this paper are practical recommendations for persuasive design and evaluation methodology combining established methods from Human Computer Interaction and eHealth.
    International Journal on Advances in Life Sciences 12/2014; 6(3-4):300. · 14.20 Impact Factor
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    • "New forms of entertainment media such as serious gaming are used for promoting healthy lifestyle [22]. Serious gaming and interactive gaming elements embedded in eHealth technology offer great potential in innovative opportunities for engaging adolescents and other patients in interventions promoting healthy nutrition habits and physical activity changes that can contribute to obesity prevention and healthier lifestyle [22] "
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    ABSTRACT: There is a fast growing number of eHealth systems aiming at supporting a healthy lifestyle. Tailored lifestyle coaching services offer individual users access to web portals where they can communicate about a growing number of ingredients of everyday life concern: physical activity, nutrition, medication, mood, sleep. Mobile technology in combination with body worn sensors support user’s awareness of their physical condition and lifestyle. Despite the large number of available lifestyle interventions and pilot trials, only very few are successfully transferred into the real health care practice. This paper presents new insights and recommendations for the design of lifestyle support systems with personalized virtual coaching based on two user studies. The first study focuses on the mobile physical activity coaching for diabetes patients and office workers. The second study summarizes the persuasive factors on attitudes of high-risk adolescents towards a virtual coach in mobile eHealth applications and social media. We present a new approach that integrates an animated digital coach in an activity monitoring lifestyle change support system.
    International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine (eTELEMED 2014), Barcelona, Spain; 03/2014
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    • "In a cross-sectional population-based study involving 4,964 school children aging 4–10 years, Corso et al. [5] observed a significant association between the presence of overweight/obesity and daily time spent in front of the com- puter. Nevertheless, in view of this problematic, a more healthfriendly entertainment technology has been developed with the purpose of associating video gaming with physical fitness [6]. Some authors have proposed the use of interactive digital tools in the form of serious games focused on rehabilitation and promotion of healthy habits. "
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    ABSTRACT: Improper use of electronic media is considered a major contributing factor to childhood obesity. However, exergames, a new generation of active games, have made it possible to combine electronic entertainment with physical exercise. The purpose of this systematic review was to analyze the use of exergaming as a strategic tool in the fight against childhood obesity. Information was retrieved from the databases SciELO, LILACS, Pubmed, Ebsco, and Science Direct, using the search words "egames," "exergames," "exergaming," "new generation of video games," "active video games," "energy expenditure," "body composition," and "physical activity" in English and Portuguese, covering the period January 2008 to April 2012. Nine articles met the inclusion criteria. Exergaming was found to increase physical activity levels, energy expenditure, maximal oxygen uptake, heart rate, and percentage of physical activity engaged in and to reduce waist circumference and sedentary screen time. Thus, exergaming may be considered a highly relevant strategic tool for the adoption of an active and healthy lifestyle and may be useful in the fight against childhood obesity.
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