Since I was a little kid I have tried to convince my parents, and now my wife, that playing games is good for me. Generally, I relied upon the argument that it helped build hand-eye coordination, which I still believe is true. Now there is a medical journal that addresses the topic. While not intended to support the argument of kids who just want to sit inside and play games it does provide interesting medical discussion of the benefits that gaming can have.
So that I don’t leave any of the brilliance of this new development out here is the description off of their website:
Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications (G4H) is a new, bi-monthly peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the development, use, and applications of game technology for improving physical and mental health and well-being. The Journal breaks new ground as the first to address this emerging, widely-recognized, and increasingly adopted area of healthcare.
Games are rapidly becoming an important tool for improving health behaviors ranging from healthy lifestyle habits and behavior modification to self-management of illness and chronic conditions to motivating and supporting physical activity. Games are also increasingly used to train health care professionals in methods for diagnosis, medical procedures, patient monitoring, as well as for responding to epidemics and natural disasters. G4H is a must for anyone interested in the research and design of health games that integrate well-tested, evidence-based behavioral health strategies to help improve health behaviors and to support the delivery of care.
Games for Health coverage includes:
- Nutrition, weight management, obesity
- Disease prevention, self-management, and adherence
- Cognitive, mental, emotional, and behavioral health
- Games in home-to-clinic telehealth systems
Games for Health key benefits:
- Demonstrates the benefits of games for improving the way people manage their health and for the delivery of care both in for everything from autism to Alzheimer’s to heart disease and other illnesses and conditions
- Offers simulation and training for health providers for using games to improve fitness, reduce obesity and overcome injuries, and for behavior modification for those suffering from battlefield post-traumatic stress disorder
- Fosters interdisciplinary dialog on controversial issues associated with games for health such as:
– Frequency, intensity and duration for minimum and optimum results
– Socio-economic and demographic factors in use, compliance and results
– Injuries and unintended consequences and improper usage and techniques
– Powerful editorial team comprised of the world’s leading researchers, industry experts and health professionals using games for health
Audience: health professionals; researchers in fields of physiology, psychology, psychiatry, communications, public health, education, sociology, humanities and computer science; game developers; health care providers; occupational and physical therapists; for-profit game developers; and retailers of games and gaming equipment; among others.
In all seriousness, I feel that gaming can provide a good influence for health. Systems like the Nintendo Wii, XBox Kinect, and the Playstation Move are getting kids, and adults, off the couch and at least moving a little. Some of those games build up a pretty good sweat even. Way beyond that new games are helping educate people with serious illnesses, and helping people to better manage their health.