In the Journals

Diabetes, obesity and video games: Digital interventions boost endocrine health

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June 5, 2014

Video games have a bad reputation for increasing sedentary behavior, sabotaging sleep quality and causing chronic wrist and joint pain; however, several recently published studies demonstrated that video games and mobile apps designed to promote weight loss and improve diabetes control can increase healthy behaviors.

Endocrine Today looked at several recently published studies on the utility of digital media-based interventions for improving exercise to reduce obesity and prediabetes and to aid in the control of diabetes.

Technology mixed with in-person social support preferred weight-loss strategy

Researchers found that participants in community weight-loss programs preferred to use mobile apps and websites to complete the daily functional tasks that aid in weight loss, such as tracking nutrient intake and exercise; however, participants were not enthusiastic about interacting with fellow dieters via social media. Some participants reported being annoyed at communication via weight-loss apps. Researchers recommended that patient support services could benefit from incorporating technology-based applications that support weight loss and improved fitness, but only if those applications involve elements of in-person interaction. Read more »

Active video gaming promoted physical activity, weight loss among children

Overweight and obese children who participated in active video games increased their physical activity and showed greater reductions in weight, according to study findings published in JAMA Pediatrics. Participants in an active video gaming regimen showed a significant increase in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during the study period and also showed reductions in BMI and rates of overweight. Read more »

Virtual buddy improved exercise performance

Kinesiology researchers found that exercising alongside a virtual buddy improved stamina and exercise performance, showing a significant gain in motivation that could support an improved fitness regimen. Statistical analysis revealed that virtually partnered exercises with either cartoon or realistic virtual workout partners showed significant gains in helping participants hold challenging plank-pose abdominal exercises longer. Read more »

Patients with diabetes find education, interaction through social gaming

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that online social gaming communities and other media adapted  for online sharing provide unique opportunities for patients managing type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Online gaming communities become a social sphere that is a safe space for people with disease to share information, develop empathy and mentor one another in actively pursuing healthy behaviors. The researchers added that companies developing diabetes monitoring products could benefit from hosting open online forums where patients can give feedback on monitoring equipment. Read more »