PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Professor Creates Video Game To Encourage Healthy Eating

An assistant professor in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology has commenced research to investigate how virtual games can teach young children about healthy eating habits. The professor, Erika Poole, hopes that the unconventional strategy will help prevent childhood obesity.

“Games are a promising approach with kids, so we want to see if it’s effective in teaching them healthy habits early,” said Poole in a Penn State news article.

In addition to holding an academic position in IST, Poole is also a member of Penn State’s Center for Integrated Healthcare Delivery Systems. Previously, she has conducted research on the use of text message interventions for smokers and the concept of “exergaming” — video games that include a physical component — for adolescents.

To study the possible positive effects of gaming on kids’ perceptions of healthy eating, an actual game had to be created. That’s where Poole brought in Penn State research assistants and outside contractors to help bring the game to life. The end product was an iPad game, in which kids are faced with a variety of different situations about healthy eating. One of these situations, for example, requires the gamer to jump and grab healthy food items while avoiding junk food.

Though the game is fun, Poole and her research team hope that it will have unintended positive results.

“Kids don’t always understand long-term consequences in real life,” said Kathleen Keller, one of the nutrition assistant professors on the research team. “But succeeding or losing in a video game is something immediate they can understand. Eventually, those lessons can extend into real life.”

Since the game has already been tested in a lab, Poole hopes to move her research into the next stage. That involves having children ages seven to 11 play the iPad game several times a week at home. Poole hopes to understand if the game actually changes the kids’ interactions with food and healthy choices.

 

About the Author

Anna Foley

Anna is a senior majoring in Communication Arts & Sciences and Spanish with a minor in Theatre. Yes, she went to Spain. Follow her half-funny thoughts @exfoleyator and send her chain emails at [email protected]

Comments

More by Anna

I’ve Found My Voice: Anna Foley’s Senior Column

I can only thank Penn State, the people I met here, and the experiences I had in this place for giving me my voice.

Here Are Your Final Four Line Dances

How Long We Wait For Water In The BJC

Athletics

North Dakota Interested In Playing Against Penn State Hockey In Nashville

North Dakota is working towards an agreement that will see its hockey team play against Penn State in Nashville during the 2020-21 season.

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

State Theatre Recognized As A State College Historic Site

As it approaches the 80th anniversary of its opening, the State Theatre has been recognized as a State College historic site.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend