Fruit and vegetable consumption patterns in U.S. children, namely ways to increase intake, is a
popular subject of study due to the fact that many U.S. children fall short of consuming the recommended daily amounts. Researchers from the USDA/Agricultural Research Service Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital conducted a interesting (and in my opinion, ingenious!) study that aimed to use a nutrition themed video game to help improve fruit and vegetable intake among 4th and 5th graders. The video game, called Squires Quest!: II Saving the Kingdom of Fivealot, encouraged fruit and vegetable consumption though goal setting at specific meals and parent involvement/support via email and website resources.
The effect of the video game intervention on fruit and vegetable intake was measured via 24 hour dietary recalls three times at baseline and 6 months later to assess the actual average fruit and veggie intake at meals and snacks. "By using a serious video game, we saw increases in meal-specific vegetable intake at dinner for the children in the Action and Coping groups and fruit intake at breakfast, lunch, and snacks for all intervention groups," said lead author Karen Cullen, DrPH, RD, USDA/ARS, Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine. The researchers attributed the beneficial effects to the game play and well as engaging the parents to help during the process. Check out more info on the study HERE!