Games for improving health

Katine Project, Cooking in the village of Olocoi.  Day 5.    Photo by Dan Chung

The gamification of global health: could a game change your bad habits?

When presented with the choice of escalator or stairs, most of us chose to queue up for the escalator, even though walking up the stairs is better for our health. But what would you do if the staircase was a giant piano? A “fun theory” experiment tried exactly that and found that 66% more commuters opted for the stairs over the escalators, proving that fun can be a motivating factor for improving health. Changing people’s behaviour for the better is part of what public health aims to achieve. Several health projects are already incorporating fun theory. For example, Unilever is using cartoon characters to get children to wash their hands and to stop the spread of preventable diseases. And in India, the Aids Fighter Pilot and Stop TB Cricket mobile phone games were designed to raise awareness of HIV/Aids and tuberculosis among young people. The games were appreciated by the target group and were found to be an effective, quick and convenient medium for improving health. ….[READ]

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