Story Immersion May Be Effective in Promoting Diet and Physical Activity in Chinese Children

Jing Jing Wang, Tom Baranowski, Patrick W C Lau*, Richard Buday, Yang Gao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Objective To evaluate the effect of playing a health video game embedded with story immersion, Escape from Diab (Diab), on children's diet and physical activity (PA) and to explore whether children immersed in Diab had greater positive outcomes. Design Two groups, nonrandomized; 3 outcome assessments: at baseline, immediately after the game (post 1), and 8–10 weeks after the game (post 2). Participants A total of 179 Chinese children aged 8–12 years. Intervention The treatment group played Diab; the control group received no intervention. Main Outcome Measures Motivation; self-efficacy; preference for fruit, vegetables, water, and PA; as well as PA behavior. Analysis Adjusted changes to post 1 and post 2 by ANCOVA controlling for demographic and baseline variables. Results Children who played Diab had increased intrinsic motivation for fruit and water, self-efficacy for PA, and self-reported PA scores at post 1 (all P < .05). Children with higher immersion scores (above the median) had increased intrinsic motivation for fruit and water, and autonomous and controlled motivation for PA at post 1 (all P < .05). However, these were not significant at post 2. Conclusions and Implications Diab provides a promising innovative medium for promoting Chinese children's psychological correlates of diet and PA and PA behavior. However, its maintenance of effectiveness needs to be enhanced and mechanisms of change need to be investigated more thoroughly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-329.e1
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

User-Defined Keywords

  • child
  • diabetes
  • fruit
  • obesity
  • self-efficacy
  • story immersion
  • vegetable
  • video game
  • water


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