Theses Doctoral

Evaluation of Creature -101: Can A Curriculum Based Serious Health Game Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity among Middle School Students?

Majumdar, Dalia

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the outcomes of playing a virtual reality serious game "Creature-101" at increasing fruits and vegetables, water, physical activity, decreasing processed snacks (e.g. chips, candy), sweetened beverages, and recreational screen time, and mediators of behavior change (behavioral capability, self-efficacy, outcome expectation-social and physical, autonomous motivation). The Creature-101 game uses social cognitive and self-determination theories as framework and incorporates "creature care" in a virtual world "Tween". Students learn scientific evidence that promote energy balance by playing mini-games, short educational videos, slideshows and interactive dialogues with game characters. Students also assess their own behaviors; create own "real life" food and activity goals, and report their progress.

The study used a pre-post matched pair intervention and control design with 590 students (65% Hispanics, 50% male, age 11-13yrs). In the intervention condition 359 students played Creature-101 in classroom 2 days/week for 1month (7sessions-30 minutes each). Two self-reported online surveys administered at baseline and immediately after intervention measured frequency and amounts of the targeted behaviors, and mediators of behavior change. Analysis of covariance compared post-test means between groups. Students in the intervention group reported significant decrease in frequency of consumption of processed packaged snacks (I=1.79±1.22, C=2.14±1.37, p-value<0.000) and increase in behavioral capability (I=5.06±3.91, C=4.06± 1.43, p=0.12). Students also reported positive trends in consuming fewer sweetened beverages (I=1.72±1.12, C=1.95±1.16, p=0.082), smaller sizes of sweetened beverages (I=1.46±0.88, C=1.65±0.93, p=0.098) and processed snacks (I=1.46±0.88, C=1.65±0.93, p=0.098). Creature-101 is encouraging as a means to promote diet and physical activity behaviors in children.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Behavioral Nutrition
Thesis Advisors
Contento, Isobel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 13, 2013