Elsevier Logo Playing video games seem to be a controversial activity in the health terrain. While investigations consider video games to build up aggression, some scientists also claim that performing this activity in moderation improves eye sight. Experts have now introduced video games that are crafted for encouraging kids to eat fruits, vegetables, drink water and exercise more.

The video games are apparently designed on the basis of social cognitive, self-determination, and persuasion theories. Previously introduced video games Diab and Nanoswarm may be significantly useful for tackling obesity. The randomized clinical trial included 153 kids aged 10 to 12 years. While 103 children were included in the treatment group, 50 formed a control group. Authors were able to gather complete data on 133 subjects. Two months after subjecting the treatment group to Diab, they were made to play Nanoswarm. Kids playing video games possibly increased fruit and vegetable consumption by approximately 2/3 serving each day. Yet no elevation in water consumption or moderate to vigorous physical activity, or improvement in body composition was registered.

Tom Baranowski, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, lead investigator, alleged, “Diab and Nanoswarm were designed as epic video game adventures, comparable to commercial quality video games. These games incorporated a broad diversity of behavior change procedures woven in and around engrossing stories. The games motivated players to substantially improve diet behaviors. Serious video games hold promise, but their effectiveness and mechanisms of change among youth need to be more thoroughly investigated.”

In spite of the betterment in fruit and vegetable consumption, water consumption and physical activity supposedly remained below the minimum recommendations. The control group on the other hand, played diet and physical-activity knowledge-based games on websites. Height, weight, waist size, and triceps skin-fold thickness were measured of children belonging to both the groups. With the help of an accelerometer-based data from each child at every assessment, experts calculated physical activity for at least 4 days. Even food consumption was measured by 24 hour dietary recalls, which were carried out by registered dietitians.

The study will be published in the January 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.