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Games can make people eat healthier. Really?

Gamejunkies are often portrayed as fat, anti-social nerds who keepcans of Cheez-Wiz and boxes of pizza within arm's reach at all times,but videogamesmay actually be of helpin the fight against obesity, if a new study is to be believed.

If you spend every waking hourplaying Burger Time, perhaps this study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, doesn't apply to you. But it does show that players are receptive to a game's message, even if it involves eating healthier foods.

The study looked at children from the ages of5 to 19as they played two games: Escape from Diab and Nanoswarm. Both games promote better lifestyles, but not in an in-your-face kind of way. The messages were subtly inserted into wide-ranging storylines.

The study found that when players played the games multiple times,they "had a meaningful effect on dietary fruit and vegetable intake." However, they had no effect on actually encouraging the children to exercise.

Researchers hope that the government will look to videogames as a new way of spreading public awareness about current issues.Perhaps we'll have a TSA groping game soon.

[Source:AFP]

Dec 7, 2010