These days, gamers are increasingly shaking off their unhealthy image. As many of our Feelgood Fridays have highlighted, we are well aware of the positive impact gaming can have on our mental health. And with rhythm, augmented reality and ‘exergaming’ games, the idea that the video game industry can’t also facilitate good physical health is long-dead. For those that own a Wii (or the unparalleled workout that is Beat Saber), a bonafide workout is just a push of a button away. But as the health-conscious already know, exercise is just half of the picture.
We’ve all been there: midway through a marathon gaming session with tasty snacks within arm’s reach. They’re quick, easy and most of all tasty. But they’re also probably the reason why your waist has gotten a little larger since The Burning Crusade Classic was released. Luckily for us, there’s now a game for that, too.
The Food Trainer (FoodT) App certainly doesn’t strike us as being quite as fun as a stroll with Pokémon Go. But this game/study from the universities of Exeter and Helsinki gets results. The app is designed as a brain-trainer, establishing healthy habits when it comes to choosing nutritious snacks over junk food. And after a month of playing once a day, users found a notable change in their eating habits."As an example, someone who ate each junk food two to four times a week reduced this to once a week after using the app regularly for a month," said Professor Natalia Lawrence, of the University of Exeter.
"Overall, the findings are really encouraging. The app is free and it only takes about four minutes per day - so it's something people realistically can do - and our results suggest it is effective."
Dr. Matthias Aulbach of the University of Helsinki added "For anyone with unhealthy eating habits - perhaps developed during lockdown - FoodT might be helpful."
It’s worth noting that the researchers suggest that their findings should be taken with a pinch of salt (but only a pinch), as there was no control group and participants so far may have had external factors leading to their weight-loss. Either way, there’s nothing to lose by giving FoodT App a go, apart from maybe a few pounds. Not only that, but you’ll be helping to scientifically prove the positive impact that video games can have. Not that we needed any more convincing.
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