Game Based Behavior Change Methods in Healthcare: The Case of Obesity
Obesity, especially in children and adolescents, continues to be a major public health problem. Race, ethnicity, socio-cultural and economical barriers play a significant role towards this problem. Parental awareness is dependent on the above factors and has been shown to help reduce the risks and barriers associated with obesity. Targeted interventions become necessary to improve awareness in the affected population. In this chapter we look specifically at game-based interventions that are targeted and promote behavior change by increasing awareness. Awareness can be broken down into three parameters: attitudes, knowledge and acceptance. Those developing interventions have to be cognizant of these three parameters, include ways to measure and track these during the intervention, and adapt according to these measures. Games naturally align to the above metrics and have been successfully designed in several other areas such as education, training, simulation and national security. Healthcare promises to present a timely opportunity to apply game-based learning methods and build serious games that improve outcomes. While there are several areas in healthcare that can significantly benefit from game-based interventions, the focus here is obesity among the infant and adolescent population. This chapter provides the theoretical constructs, design strategies, and several case studies that have made a significant impact in this area.
KeywordsBehavior change Game based learning Obesity Health interventions Software engineering Agile methods Body perception Avatars Clicktracing Clinical trial Prototyping
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