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Games Health J. 2018 Apr;7(2):127-135. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2017.0102. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Virtual Sprouts: A Virtual Gardening Pilot Intervention Increases Self-Efficacy to Cook and Eat Fruits and Vegetables in Minority Youth.

Author information

1
1 Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California , Los Angeles, California.
2
2 Interactive Media & Games Division, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California , Los Angeles, California.
3
3 Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Champaign, Illinois.
4
4 Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Texas at Austin , Austin, Texas.
5
5 Center for Economic and Social Research, University of Southern California , Los Angeles, California.
6
6 Division of Engineering Education, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California , Los Angeles, California.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the effect of the Virtual Sprouts intervention, an interactive multiplatform mobile gardening game, on dietary intake and psychosocial determinants of dietary behavior in minority youth.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

In this quasi-experimental pilot intervention, 180 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in Los Angeles Unified School District participated in a 3-week program that included three Virtual Sprouts gaming sessions, three in-school lessons, and three in-home activities, using a nutrition- and gardening-focused curriculum. Pre- and postintervention questionnaires were used to assess psychosocial determinants of dietary behavior, including knowledge about and self-efficacy to eat fruits and vegetables (FV). Data were collected on FV, whole grains, fiber, total sugar, added sugar, and energy from sugary beverages through the Block Kids Food Screener ("last week" version) for Ages 2-17. Repeated measures analysis of covariance models was used for continuous outcomes, controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, school, and free school lunch.

RESULTS:

After the intervention, the intervention group (n = 116) compared with the control group (n = 64) had a significantly improved self-efficacy to eat FV score (+1.6% vs. -10.3%, P = 0.01), and an improved self-efficacy to cook FV score (+2.9% vs. -5.0%, P = 0.05). There were no significant differences in dietary intake or self-efficacy to garden scores between intervention and control groups.

CONCLUSION:

The results from this 3-week pilot study suggest that an interactive mobile game with a nutrition- and gardening-focused curriculum can improve psychosocial determinants of dietary behavior in minority youth.

KEYWORDS:

Augmented reality; Human computer interaction; Mobile gardening game; Nutrition; Pedagogical agent; Self-efficacy

PMID:
29394102
PMCID:
PMC5905860
[Available on 2019-04-01]
DOI:
10.1089/g4h.2017.0102
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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