TXT Elvis Pretzley to Play! Using Games and SMS to Engage Families in Conversations about Health

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This case study illustrates ways to maximize the educational potential of an idle moment in a family’s restaurant experience - waiting for their meals. Our research investigates how traditional playing card games in combination with an integrated SMS health messaging game can influence an individuals understanding of their health behaviors, as well as how they share information. We developed a set of trading cards containing cartoon characters and health messages based on the Fitwits program as well as a companion text-messaging (SMS) game to further engage families in discussions about health. The study was implemented during a 5-week period at 73 Eat’n Park restaurants. During the study period, there was a 5.8% increase in sales of healthy meal options as compared to the previous year. We showed strong engagement with the Fitwits cards including a total of 701 families playing the integrated SMS game (74% completion rate) and many exploring other aspects of the SMS interaction including checking recipes and providing feedback about their experience. Learning of health messages was demonstrated through a 15% improvement in performance on repeat play of the SMS game. The engagement of families in discussion about health was reflected in both positive user feedback as well as reports by restaurant staff.

Keywords: Obesity, Games, SMS
Stream: Design in Society
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Armen Arevian

Resident Physician, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Armen Arevian is a physician-scientist whose research is at the intersection of neuroscience, computer science, design and psychiatry. He focuses on designing novel clinical and technology systems that aim to better understand patients and their clinical course while engaging communities and patients in the healthcare process. He is currently conducting an NIMH-funded pilot to test out an automated telephone interaction system that he developed for patients with severe mental illness to better connect them with their clinicians and forecast their clinical course. In addition, he has recently developed a web application called Chorus. This application empowers patients, community groups, and researchers to design and deploy their own automated SMS-based interactions without the need for servers or working with programmers.

Chongho Lee

School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
-, USA

Prof. Kristin Hughes

Associate Professor, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University

Kristin Hughes is an associate professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Her work focuses on design as a catalyst for community and civic engagement. Hughes designs communications and services that allow participants to shape their own experiences in order to sustain learning over time. Through design, Hughes creates a powerful platform for uninhibited learning, engagement and advocacy.

Ref: G13P0494