Overweight and obesity pose a serious and increasing problem worldwide. Current treatment methods can result in weight loss in the short term but often fail in the longer term. Increasing motivation and thereby improving adherence can be a key factor in achieving the needed behavioral change. One approach is to address affective state (i.e. to promote positive emotions) by making people aware of their condition in a playful manner, possibly with peer interaction. Serious gaming is envisioned as one way to achieve this. Based on a study of the scientific evidence, the serious game ‘Healthy Weight Game!’ was designed. The design incorporates most of the features shown to be beneficial in the scientific literature. An evaluation of the design involving a survey of 53 subjects produced positive results. The game was well understood and seen as a good method to help people lose weight and induce positive behavioral change. It was seen as a good addition to own initiatives for being physically active and as a useful addition to dieting and physical therapy. The design of the game (appearance and content) was positively received. Some gender differences were found in reactions to features such as visualization of goal achievements (e.g. avatar getting thinner as exercise goals are reached) and the kind of informative feedback which was appreciated. Overall the game design was rated 7.57/10 over all respondents. We conclude that this design demonstrates potential for improving physical and, indirectly, mental health of people facing overweight and obesity by increasing adherence and promoting sustainable behavioral change. Next steps are to implement the game and conduct a larger scale evaluation.
|Publisher||IEEE Computer Society|
|Conference||SEGAH 2013, 2nd International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health, Vilamoura, May 2-3, 2013|
|Period||2/05/13 → 3/05/13|
- lifestyle change
- Serious gaming