Child Goal Setting of Dietary and Physical Activity in a Serious Videogame

Monique Simons, Janice Baranowski, Debbe Thompson, Richard Buday, Dina Abdelsamad, Tom Baranowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To inform child obesity prevention programs, the current article identified what children thought were the most important goals, values, and perceived barriers related to healthy eating and physical activity (PA) within a serious videogame for health, "Escape from Diab" (Archimage Inc., Houston, TX).

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: One hundred three children, 10-12 years of age, played "Escape from Diab." During game play the children were presented with a menu of goals, values, and barriers from which they selected the ones most important to them. The children's selections were transmitted to a central server and stored in a database. Frequencies were calculated and reported.

RESULTS: The most important diet-related values and reasons for children were getting good grades and being healthy and fit. The most often reported barrier for fruit intake was that it does not fill you up, and for vegetable intake it was that availability at home was limited. Also, limited availability of bottled water at home was an often chosen barrier. PA-related important values and reasons were not missing school and having energy to do homework. Children preferred to limit sedentary activities for only 30 minutes rather than for 60 minutes. The most frequently mentioned barrier for reducing inactivity was "feeling too tired to do anything else."

CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide important input for future obesity prevention videogames attempting to motivate children to set healthy diet and PA goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-7
Number of pages8
JournalGames for health journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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