Prävention und Gesundheitsförderung

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 333–336 | Cite as

Games for health research—past, present, and future

  • Tom Baranowski



A substantial number of studies have been published on many games for diverse aspects of health. Despite the potential contributions of games for health (G4H), it has not been easy to obtain funding for research in this field.


This paper attempts to identify why there has been difficulty in obtaining funding for G4H research, create an awareness of the importance of evidence-based research, and provide recommendations to enhance research and understanding in this area.

Materials and methods

This article describes the past and current state of research in G4H and identifies implications for the future.


The current state of research in the field of games does not match the criteria for good standards of research. The poor quality of studies limits what can be concluded about the effectiveness of G4H.


Outcomes research on G4H must make a quantum leap in quality to realistically assess the efficacy or effectiveness of G4H, and which aspects of G4H offer the most promise for change among which target groups. Research is also needed on the effectiveness of behavior change procedures and game mechanics within the context of games.


Serious games Gamification Games for health Research Health behavior 

Forschung im Bereich Spiele für die Gesundheit – Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft



Studien über den Einsatz von Serious Games für verschiedene gesundheitliche Zwecke sind in beträchtlicher Zahl veröffentlicht worden. Trotz des Potenzials von Spielen für die Gesundheit („games for health“ [G4H]) ist es schwierig, Forschungsgelder einzuwerben.

Ziel der Arbeit

Ziel der Arbeit ist es aufzuklären, warum die Finanzierung von Forschungsarbeiten mit Spielen schwierig ist. Zudem soll der Beitrag die Bedeutung evidenzbasierter Forschung auf dem Gebiet der Spiele stärker ins Bewusstsein rücken und Empfehlungen für zukünftige Aktivitäten in diesem Bereich geben.

Material und Methoden

Der Artikel beschreibt den bisherigen und aktuellen Stand der Forschung zu G4H. Ausgehend davon werden Schlussfolgerungen für die Zukunft der Forschung gezogen.


Der aktuelle Stand der Forschung auf dem Gebiet der Spiele entspricht nicht den Kriterien guter Forschung. Die geringe Qualität der Studien begrenzt die Schlussfolgerungen, die sich bezüglich der Wirksamkeit von G4H ziehen lassen.


Die Ergebnisforschung zu G4H muss qualitativ einen Quantensprung machen, um die Wirksamkeit unter Ideal- und Alltagsbedingungen („efficacy“ und „effectiveness“) realistisch untersuchen zu können und um zu ermitteln, welche Aspekte von G4H in welchen Zielgruppen am meisten einen Wandel versprechen. Untersucht werden muss auch die Wirksamkeit von Verfahren zur Verhaltensänderung und von Spielmechanismen im Kontext von Spielen.


Serious Games Gamification Spiele für die Gesundheit Forschung Gesundheitsverhalten 



This work was funded in part by federal funds from the National Institutes of Health (DK091254) and is a publication of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/ARS) Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, and had been funded in part with federal funds from the USDA/ARS under Cooperative Agreement No. 58-3092-5-001.

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

T. Baranowski declares that he has no competing interests.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of PediatricsBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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