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Games for Health

Health games are designed using gaming technologies and principles, to improve participants’ awareness of health related issues, or to increase their engagement in physical activities.

On December 4, 2009, Rice University in Houston, TX, held a one-day “Games for Health” event. It offered a great overview and introduction to the games for health field. Speakers from around the nation talked about health games and their impact.

Gaming applications such as Glucoboy (http://www.glucoboy.com/), Whyville (http://www.whyville.net/), Horsepower Challenge (http://www.humanagames.com/#/hp_challenge/) address  issues like nutrition, healthy eating, exercise, and disease, and offer a secure environment for kids and teens to play, socialize, and learn. According to James Bowers from University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 24% of the 34.2 million 3-17 year olds play in the virtual world.

Video games like PULSE!! (http://www.sp.tamucc.edu/pulse/info.asp) are used as a clinical training tool for medical personnel. Exergame applications such as Wii Fit (http://www.nintendo.com/wiifit/launch/) provide interactive physical activities like dance, aerobics and other sport-related movements.  Video games like Brain Fitness Program by PositScience (http://www.positscience.com/products/demos/) help the elderly to improve their visual skills and memory.

To know more about the Games for Health events and announcements, visit their website at http://www.gamesforhealth.org/index3.html

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