Serious video games may up intake of fruits in kids

New York: Does your child run at the sight of apples, bananas and green leafy vegetables? If yes, serious video games may help your kid increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, says an interesting study.

Eating adequate amounts of these foods is not only ideal for a healthy lifestyle, but can also reduce the risk of some chronic diseases including heart disease and certain cancers.

The findings showed that serious video games that are designed to both entertain and promote behaviour change, create specific plans with goals, which help children improve fruit and vegetable intake at specific meals.

“By using a serious video game, we saw increases in meal-specific vegetable intake at dinner for the children and fruit intake at breakfast, lunch, and snacks time,” said lead author Karen Cullen, professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

For the study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 400 fourth and fifth grade students played 10 episodes of Squires Quest! II — a serious online video game — that promotes fruit and vegetable intake.

At six months after intervention, results showed improvements in both fruit and vegetable intake in participants.

Of the 400 participants, 79 percent reported meeting all goals during game play.