New digital game to help teenagers get healthier

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Teenagers across Southampton are to create a new gaming platform that will encourage them to eat smart and get active.

In a new project led by the University, teenagers who are taking part in the LifeLab programme will be asked to develop the digital game, alongside health researchers, scientists and professional game developers.

Ideas and formats will be given to in-game designers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) who will create the game and then bring it back to LifeLab for testing.

The aim is to educate young people about the impact their lifestyle choices have on their health and the health of their future children and encourage them to improve their diet and exercise habits.

Associate Professor Mary Barker, who is leading the project, said: “Gaming is one of the UK’s largest new industries that has the power to influence young people to become more active. We want to harness that power and create something new and exciting that will encourage young people to make better decisions about their diets and to become fitter and healthier.”

The £2.2m project is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme.

David Farrell, lecturer in games design at GCU, said:

Game designers harness the power of play to have gamers undertake all kinds of weird and wonderful activities. We are going to tap into this process to find ways to help people really enjoy themselves as they try to live healthier lives.

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