A special symposium titled “Serious Games for Diabetes, Obesity, and Healthy Lifestyle” has been published in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal dedicated to the development and adoption of new technologies to help people with diabetes. The issue is guest co-edited by Debra Lieberman, PhD, director of the Health Games Research national program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and by Deborah Thompson, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and research nutritionist with the Agricultural Research Service, the main in-house research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The symposium contains five research articles that investigate design strategies and effects of health behavior change games aimed at motivating and supporting players’ physical activity. Four of the articles study exergames, such as Wii Fit, which require physical exertion as the interface to the game. Another article studies a technology-supported alternate reality game that challenges players to solve a mystery and, in the process, engage in physical activity in various locations in the community. These five research articles report on work funded by the Health Games Research national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio.