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February 03, 2020 Monday 11:48:07 AM IST

Using games to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables

Parent Interventions

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen conducted a study to examine whether games can affect children's eating habits. They found that board games, card games, and even computer games can be used to get children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Conversely, games can also encourage children to eat more unhealthy snacks. According to the research, it has been suggested that children might be able to play their way to healthier eating habits. Purpose developed games can increase children's fruit and vegetable intake.

The researchers reviewed 43 studies from the around the world that investigate the use of games and 'gamification' purposed with influencing the eating habits of children.

"Most games succeed at influencing child behavior in the desired direction. For example, by getting them to consume larger amounts of fruit and vegetables and raise their awareness about food. The games that work combine aspects of competition, such as earning points, with a compelling plot, where the player is typically a hero on a mission," says first author Ching Yue Chow of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food Science.

The researchers looked at a game experiment designed to get children to eat more healthy or unhealthy snacks. The latter are known as advergames, and used by companies use to promote a specific product. And there is an effect.

"All of the studies in this area demonstrate that these games have an immediate effect on children, whether getting them to eat healthy - or unhealthy snacks. Thus, one should be aware that games can also have a negative effect on children’s eating habits," says Ching Yue Chow.