Encouraging healthy eating habits in children and parents through mobile app gamification  

Gamification Design for Nutritional-Healthy Eating Application

Many studies show that children who learn about healthy eating habits early on in life tend to maintain these habits in adulthood. Inspired by the NTUC Bright Horizon Fund (BHF), which uses targeted interventions to support children from low-income families, a group of SIT faculty members came together to raise awareness about the nutritional values of food and inspire healthier eating habits. 

The SIT-BHF collaboration enabled an exchange of ideas on how to create meaningful behavioural changes in eating and food purchasing habits for children and parents. The collaborators proposed adding game mechanics in the BHF mobile app to encourage pre-schoolers and their caregivers to learn about nutritious food, cost-effective healthy diets, and how to develop good eating habits. 

The team improved app interactions through a game format. Through the app, children could access information on nutrition that would influence healthy eating behaviours. The app also provided reminders to parents on how to make healthier food choices for their families. 

The project team that spearheaded the project comprised Mr Oran Zane Devilly; Associate Professor (A/P) Tan Chek Tien; and Mr Dan Chia from the Infocomm Technology cluster as well as A/P Wang Mei Yin from the Health and Social Sciences cluster, and Assistant Professor Verena Tan from the Food, Chemical and Biotechnology cluster. 

Students from the ICT4004 Design Thinking class in the Infocomm Technology cluster are working on the gamification design in collaboration with students from other disciplines. The main project team will also benefit from the knowledge-sharing on food safety by students from the Food Technology programme (Chemical Engineering and Food Technology). 

The students will ensure that information related to food storage as well as the safe handling of raw food ingredients and cooked food is relevant and accurate. Students from the Dietetics and Nutrition programme (Health and Social Sciences) will also support the project. They will provide information on affordable and nutritious foods, appropriate eating habits, and fun facts on food. 

Once completed, the mobile game is expected to make a positive social impact on users’ eating habits.

BHF Gamification Design