Oakland, California-based non-profit health plan providers Kaiser Permanente have launched a new serious game geared at fighting childhood obesity. The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective
, a free online game in English and Spanish, aims to teach children to eat healthier foods, get more active and manage how they spend their time in front of the computer and television.
The Amazing Food Detective, based on a character from Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program, takes children through activities that show how to choose healthy foods and get more active. Children playing the game follow the routines of eight culturally diverse children whose activities or conditions would benefit from healthy food and exercise choices.
The game, designed by the company's health professionals, is aimed at children ages 9 to 10, and Kaiser Permanente says it's part of a clinical initiative to combat childhood obesity. Kaiser Permanente has partnered with children's publishing, education and media company Scholastic to distribute supplementary educational materials that meet national standards, along with CDs of the game, to more than 5,000 public schools nationwide this month.
Kaiser Permanente cites figures that show the rate of childhood obesity in the United States has tripled in the last 15 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 9 million children in the United States are overweight or obese. Research shows that nearly 7 million of those children will grow up to be overweight or obese adults.
Kaiser Permanente has joined forces with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, to distribute supplementary educational materials that meet national standards along with CDs of the game to more than 5,000 public schools nationwide this month. The materials include a teaching guide with engaging lessons and activities as well as a colorful wall poster with a full month of healthy ideas for the classroom. Family fun pages reinforce the healthy choice messages being taught in the classroom and include healthy tips and resources for families and a family profile chart to help families set health goals for themselves and their children.
“Helping children learn and grow includes helping them have a healthy foundation for learning,” stated Shelley White, editorial director of Scholastic.
“The game builds on our Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) approach to obesity and chronic health conditions," added Ray Baxter, senior vice president for Community Benefit at Kaiser Permanente. "HEAL takes childhood health beyond the doctor's office by surrounding kids with healthy messages and opportunities to make healthier choices at every touch point of their lives: schools, families, communities, online, grocery stores and beyond.”