Note: In 2013, Health Games Research completed its work. This web site is now an archive and will not be updated. Please visit the web site of the Center for Digital Games Research at UC Santa Barbara to find current information about health games and the broader field of digital games, and to use the Health Games Research online searchable database.

Video Games for Dietary Behavior Change and Improved Glycemic Control in Diabetes

This project investigates health impacts of educational desktop and mobile mini-games on adults with diabetes. The games are designed to help players attain better blood sugar control by improving their ability to estimate nutritional metrics such as carbohydrates, calories, and energy density. In addition to assessing effects of the games on dietary knowledge and food choices, the study explores effects of two game design strategies: tailoring and tethering. Tailoring involves customizing a game to meet an individual player's personal characteristics, preferences and goals.  Tethering involves rapid task-switching between a learning task and a non-educational game.

Principal Investigator
Wanda Pratt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School of Medicine
Other Researchers

Walter H. Curioso M.D.
Jonathon Deshazo

Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D.
Lynne Harris
Eric Horvitz, M.D.
Dace Trence, M.D.


DeShazo, J., Harris, L., & Pratt, W. (2010, October). Effective intervention or child's play? A review of video games for diabetes education. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. 12(10), 815-822.

DeShazo, J., Harris, L., Turner, A., & Pratt, W. (2010, August). Designing and remotely testing mobile diabetes video games. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 16, 378.