FRUGGIE – A board game to combat obesity by promoting healthy eating habits in young children

(1) Deerfield High School, Deerfield, Illinois, (2) The Geisinger Institute, Danville, Pennsylvania

Obesity is a significant health concern for children in the United States. One way to combat obesity is to start the education of eating healthy at a younger age. This study explored whether an interactive board game could provide that education to young children. Fruggie is a board game that is designed to test whether children learn and retain the importance of healthy eating habits. By integrating family time in playing a board game alongside answering health and nutrition related trivia questions while eating real food as part of the game, Fruggie is meant to promote awareness of healthy eating habits in children at an early age. Participant families played this game for six months with their young children between the ages of 3-7 years. The study tested whether children improve and retain their interest in eating fruits and vegetables because of the use of real fruit and vegetables in the game to more permanently change attitudes about healthy eating. Results showed that children developed a liking for fruits and vegetables, and none regressed. Half maintained their level of enjoyment for fruits and vegetables during the research period, while the other half had a positive increase. The game was able to increase the desire to eat fruits and vegetables and reduce aversions the children may have had to eating fruits and vegetables before being introduced to the game.

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