Holzmann, Sophie Laura; Dischl, Felicitas; Schäfer, Hanna; Groh, Georg; Hauner, Hans; Holzapfel, Christina
Digital Gaming for Nutritional Education: A Survey on Preferences, Motives, and Needs of Children and Adolescents.
Use of novel information and communication technologies are frequently discussed as promising tools to prevent and treat overweight and obesity in children and adolescents.This survey aims to describe the preferences, motives, and needs of children and adolescents regarding nutrition and digital games.We conducted a survey in 6 secondary schools in the southern region of Germany using a 43-item questionnaire. Questions referred to preferences, motives, and needs of children and adolescents regarding nutrition and digital games. In addition, knowledge regarding nutrition was assessed with 4 questions. We collected self-reported sociodemographic and anthropometric data. Descriptive statistical analyses were performed using SPSS.In total, 293 children and adolescents participated in the study, with ages 12-18 years (137 girls, 46.8%), weight 30.0-120.0 (mean 60.2 [SD 13.2]) kg, and height 1.4-2.0 (mean 1.7 [SD 0.1]) m. A total of 5.5% (16/290) correctly answered the 4 questions regarding nutrition knowledge. Study participants acquired digital nutritional information primarily from the internet (166/291, 57.0%) and television (97/291, 33.3%), while school education (161/291, 55.3%) and parents or other adults (209/291, 71.8%) were the most relevant nondigital information sources. Most participants (242/283, 85.5%) reported that they regularly play digital games. More than half (144/236, 61.0%) stated that they play digital games on a daily basis on their smartphones or tablets, and almost 70% (151/282, 66.5%) reported playing digital games for<=30 minutes without any interruption. One-half of respondents (144/280, 51.4%) also stated that they were interested in receiving information about nutrition while playing digital games.This survey suggests that nutrition knowledge in children and adolescents might be deficient. Most children and adolescents play digital games and express interest in acquiring nutritional information during digital gameplay. A digital game with a focus on sound nutrition could be a potential educational tool for imparting nutrition knowledge and promoting healthier nutrition behaviors in children and adolescents.