Games and interactive media are powerful tools for health promotion and childhood obesity prevention

February 13, 2012
Childhood Obesity is a bimonthly journal, published in print and online, and the journal of record for all aspects of communication on the broad spectrum of issues and strategies related to weight management and obesity prevention in children and adolescents. Credit: ©2012 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Children are naturally drawn toward gaming and other types of technology, creating an ideal opportunity to design interactive media tools to encourage physical activity and promote healthy eating habits, according to an article in a special issue of the journal Childhood Obesity celebrating the second anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative. The issue includes a special Foreword by Mrs. Obama and is available free online at http://www.liebertpub.com/chi.

"Let's Get Technical! Gaming and Technology for Weight Control and Health Promotion in Children," an article by Tom Baranowski, PhD and Leslie Frankel, PhD, USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, describes the ongoing research effort to identify and develop the most effective approaches for using gaming and interactive media to deliver health promotion messages to children of all ages.

This special Let's Move! issue has a wide range of contributions from leaders in the fight against childhood obesity including Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, NFL quarterback Drew Brees, Stephen Daniels, MD, PhD, Sandra Hassink, MD, Margo Wootan, DSc, and Editor-in-Chief David Katz, MD, MPH.

The issue covers a broad range of topics including creating environments that support routine physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, after-school programs, nutrition standards for school meals, faith-based advocacy efforts to end childhood obesity, gaming and technology for weight control, parent training programs for 2-4 year old Latino children, the role of sleep in childhood obesity, a roundtable discussion about what we don't know about childhood obesity, industry efforts to help children make , and success stories from the Let's Move! initiative.

"We know that 'screen time' is a contributor to childhood obesity. But we also know it's not going away. Thought leaders like Dr. Baranowski are showing how to convert parts of the problem into parts of the solution," says David L. Katz, MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of and Director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center. "We are honored to feature such pragmatic expertise on the pages of the Journal."

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