About the Project

The aim of this project is to see whether or not a simple computer game can help children make healthier food choices.  

Child Suitability

This project is suitable for children aged 4-12 years old. For young people aged 11-24 years, the University of Bristol is leading a similar study - if you would like to take part in their study, please contact thehealthyeatingproject@gmail.com or visit their website.

Our research to date suggests that your child may eat fewer high-calorie snack foods and more fruits and vegetables after completing this study. Please do not take part if you think this could pose a problem for your child’s health or wellbeing. If you are unsure about whether this applies to your child please consult your healthcare professional before participating.

What the study involves

After you have provided some basic information about your child’s eating habits using an online survey, habits, you will be invited to play three short computer games. In total, they should take about 10 minutes to complete. Two of these games measure your child’s food preferences and one of these games is the training game. 

You can sit with your child while they play the game or leave them to complete it independently but please make sure they understand the rules of the game or the study won’t work! Please note: you will need to use a device with a keyboard to complete this project as our game is not yet touchscreen compatible.

The game involves pressing keys in response to pictures of food with happy faces next to them.  This is a reaction time game so the faster your child goes, the better! However, sometimes a sad face will appear instead of a happy one – in these cases, the player has to try as hard as possible not to press the keys. The game takes around 7 minutes to play and after you have completed the main study today, your child is welcome to play the game as many times as you like. Our past research suggests that playing the game four times per week is enough to get the benefits of the training.

At the end, we will give you an opportunity to give us some feedback about the training game. If you are happy for us to get in touch, we also have the opportunity for you to send us some more feedback after a couple of weeks to see if you're still using the game and, if so, how you’re getting on and whether you think this is something you would continue using.

All of these games and surveys will help us to understand whether the training works and will allow you to tell us what you think!

Contact us

If you have any questions before taking part or would like to drop us an email, please get in touch at kidsfoodtraining@exeter.ac.uk

To sign up for this study, click here.