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Discovering How Video Games Can Motivate Healthy Behaviors: More than $2 Million Awarded to 12 Research Teams Across U.S.
Date:5/29/2008

Awards go to researchers in CA, FL, IN, ME, NC, NY, SC, VT and WA; Studies explore how games can increase physical activity and enhance prevention, self-management of health conditions

PRINCETON, N.J., May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced today during a telenews conference the first round of grants awarded through its Health Games Research national program. More than $2 million in grants will enable 12 research teams to help strengthen the evidence base that supports the development and use of digital interactive games to improve players' health behaviors and outcomes. Funded studies explore topics ranging from how motion-based games may help stroke patients progress faster in physical therapy to how people in substance abuse treatment can practice skills and behaviors in the virtual world of a game to prevent real-world relapses.

The 12 grantees, awarded up to $200,000 each, are leading one- to two-year studies of games that engage players - ranging in age from eight to 98 - in physical activity and/or games that motivate them to improve their self-care (e.g., healthy lifestyle choices, prevention behaviors, chronic disease self-management and/or adherence to medical treatment plans).

Health Games Research is headquartered at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The program is directed by Debra Lieberman, Ph.D., communication researcher in the university's Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research, lecturer in the Department of Communication and a leading expert in the research and design of interactive media for learning and health behavior change. Health Games Research is funded by an $8.25 million grant from RWJF's Pioneer Portfolio, which supports innovative projects that may lead to breakthrough improvements in the future of health and health care.

"Health Games Research gives us a tremendous opportunity to advance the field," said Lieberman. "Previous
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SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Washington, D.C.; HealthGames
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