A Serious Game Approach to Improve Food Behavior in Families - A Pilot Study

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The objective of this pilot study was to investigate the effect of a specially developed serious game to improve food behavior in families with children aged 5–13 years using mixed methods. Fourteen families were randomized into a game-group and a non-game-group and divided into age groups (game-children (GC), game-parents (GP), non-game-children (nGC), and non-game-parents (nGP)). The families completed a baseline test, a three-week intervention period with or without a game element, and a follow-up test. Qualitative results showed a positive change in food behavior in all families. Quantitative results mainly showed an effect in food neophobia as a decrease was seen in all groups; however, it was only significant (p < 0.05) in three groups (GP, nGC, nGP). No changes were seen in willingness to taste, and only limited changes in liking and number of words used to describe the stimuli. In conclusion, qualitative results showed positive change in the children’s food behavior in most families, indicating a positive effect of performing tastings and tasks together as a family—regardless of the presence of a game element. However, this was not as clear in the quantitative data, indicating that current quantitative tools are less suited to measure complex concepts like willingness to taste.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1415
Issue number5
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Eating behavior, Food neophobia, Gamification, Serious game, Willingness to taste

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