Changing Behavior of Kids with Obesity with Gamified Wearables

  • Luisa Schulz
  • A. A. M. Ton SpilEmail author
  • S. A. Sjoerd de Vries
Part of the Healthcare Delivery in the Information Age book series (Healthcare Delivery Inform. Age)


The number of children aged 5–19 categorized as obese or overweight exceeds 340 million worldwide, but existing programs have only limited effectiveness because more than 50% of the times the weight is regained after treatment ends and often requires an expensive and laborious multi-professional therapy. The aim of this study was to examine which guidelines for gamified wearables can be developed into an effective tool for weight loss and trigger long-term behavior change within children.

The thesis comprises a literature analysis and a qualitative research design. Open-ended questionnaires were distributed to 3 clinicians and 18 children and analyzed using MaxQDA. Three independent variables (age, gender, and BMI) were considered.

The results of this study identified four guidelines for developing a prototype. These guidelines are obesity management tool, game approach, rewards, and education. Emotional support was theoretically a fifth guideline but not empirically supported. Results could not reliably answer whether long-term behavior change can be triggered through gamified wearables, but the potential of gamified wearables is high. Based on the identified fundamental guidelines, a prototype, i.e., “Body Balance,” was developed composed of (1) game approach, (2) rewards, (3) obesity management tools, and (4) education.


Digital health Child obesity Gamification Wearables Gamified wearables e-Health 



We would like to thank Yulia Byron-Moiseenko for her drawings in the prototype.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luisa Schulz
    • 1
  • A. A. M. Ton Spil
    • 2
    Email author
  • S. A. Sjoerd de Vries
    • 2
  1. 1.University of TwenteMunichGermany
  2. 2.University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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