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Lets take a break from all the Health 2.0 web goodies and play a health game! Nutrition Sleuth is a game that provides kids and adults with an introduction to the essential vitamins and minerals important in keeping the body working as it should be.

Participants role-play as the famous nutritionist inspector Smarfengood whose goal is to figure out what essential nutrient is missing from each of his victims. Think of the game as “hang-man” with the category as vitamins and nutrients.

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kaiswer.jpgHealth insurers are developing games to educate and engage clients. Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Humana Inc. will be launching games in the upcoming weeks that will be focused on obesity and diabetes. Their effort is being called “medutainment” meaning medical information being conveyed as a form of entertainment.

Kaiser is distributing an obesity-focused game called “Amazing Food Detective,” where players must try to help characters learn how to eat better and be more physically active. The game targets 9 to 10 year olds. Humana will have games launched in 2008. They plan on developing games for diabetes, obesity, and medical adherence.

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hopelab1.jpgAn upcoming revolution in health right now is games used for health purposes. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has provided $8.25M for Health Games Research. The grant’s purpose is to “support research to enhance the quality and effectiveness of interactive games that are used to improve health.”

One of the most popular games for health is Re-mission, a game that allows young kids to understand what cancer is and toremission_cancergame.jpg “increase a players’ sense of control over their circumstances”. The idea is developed by Pam Omidyar (eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s wife). Parents as well as kids have commented that the game helps to “open [their] eyes to cancer” and that the interactive features of the games assist to understand the condition as oppose to just reading about it. Re-mission is developed by HopeLab, a non-profit organization that combines medical research with innovative solutions to improve health and healthcare.

Being an avid gamer myself, I am excited to see this trend in healthcare. I encourage all healthcare professionals to become involved by participating in various competitions available that are asking for innovative game ideas that would assist in improving patients’ health.

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[Last modified: 12/08/07]