DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY
Location: Children Nutrition Research Center (Houston, Tx)
Title: Role of immersion (transportation) in health video games
Submitted to: International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2010
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
Citation: Lu, A.S., Thompson, D.J., Baranowski, J., Buday, R., Baranowski, T. 2010. Role of immersion (transportation) in health video games [abstract]. In: International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Abstract Book, June 9-12, 2010, Minneapolis, MN. p. 353-354.
Recent empirical studies have shown that narratives can serve as powerful tools for health behavior change. According to theory, the more a narrative immerses or transports a person into a story world, the more consistent their beliefs and behaviors should be with the narrative. As the first analysis of immersion in health video games, the present research addressed three research questions: Is videogame immersion a stable trait? Will players be more immersed when the main characters are similar to players? Are increased levels of immersion related to more positive health outcomes? 103 children 10 to 12 years of age played Escape from the Diab and Nanoswarm: Invasion from Inner Space, two video games designed to reduce risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity. Demographic information, immersion, and psychosocial variables (e.g. self-efficacy, motivation, etc.) were recorded and analyzed. Adolescence is the period in life characterized by significant change like biological, psychological, and social learning that occurs at an astonishing rate. Adolescents are more capable of making decisions and are often given more freedom to do so. It is also a time when youth are particularly impressionable and vulnerable to many factors that positively or negatively influence their future health behaviors. Adolescents are a very diverse population segment because they are in the different stages of development, living in different geographical conditions, their marital status, or have different needs and diverse problems. Adolescent risk behaviors can affect their current and future health. Indeed, it can affect the entire life course. Adolescent risk behaviors and choices tend to occur in a social context and may be synergistic. Therefore, it is necessary to identify risk behaviors and factors that make them more vulnerable. This present study was planned to assess the health risk behaviors of adolescents in Rajasthan. Strategies for Health promoting activities were framed and a community based model is being developed to sensitize adolescents towards health. Specific objectives of the study were "to develop an integrated community based model for strengthening the adolescent sensitivity to health". Different schools from Rajasthan were considered and self administered questionnaire adapted from GSHS questionnaire of WHO were used to assess the risk behaviors. Age group considered was 15-18 and sample size was 1600 students. Informed consent was taken. Results Mean age of students was 16. PERSONAL HYGEINE: 100% reported to brush regularly; 96% reported they take bath regularly; 65% reported washing hand regularly. Only 58% washed hands with soap or any solution. MENSTRUAL HYGEINE: Mean age of menarche is 13; 89% had regular menstrual periods; 90% reported using sanitary napkins of which, only 57% reported changes at least 2 napkins each day . Ten percent of them reported using clothes out of which 53% reported changing fresh clothes everyday; remaining used waste clothes and wash it and reuse it. DIET PATTERN: 98.5% reported they prefer fruits of which 74.5% consume daily; 90.5% consume vegetables regularly Physical Activity: 32% perform intensive physical activity everyday; 20.5% reported for 5-7 days in a week; 20% for 3-5 days; 21% reported no intensive physical activity. SUBSTANCE ABUSE: 4% reported that they have tried at least once; 1% reported that they consume regularly; 0.5% reported use of tobacco forms on school campus; 7% reported consumption of alcohol regularly. SEXUAL BEHAVIOR: Only one girl (0.05%) has reported stated that sexual relationship below 18 years is acceptable, Immersion scores (18 items, alphas >.89) were highly correlated (r=.72, p<.001) across games. Black (M=40.50) and Hispanic (M=40.74) participants had higher immersion levels than white participants (M=34.70) (ps<.01) as both games featured main characters with black/Hispanic resemblance. Immersion correlated positively with increases in preference for fruit/juice/regular vegetables, physical activity self efficacy, and motivation to consume water between baseline and follow-up (rs>.29, p<.01). It was concluded that immersion appears to be a stable personal trait, which may be enhanced when ethnic/racial backgrounds of characters are similar to that of the players. Immersion may be a mediating mechanism for relationships between narrative health video games and their intervention effects. More studies should explore immersion in maximizing intervention outcomes.