People who are alarmed about America's childhood obesity epidemic often point to video games as a likely contributor to inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. After all, more than 150 million Americans—including a quarter of all preschoolers—play such games regularly.
But not all video games are detrimental to players' health. Games that exercise more than just the thumbs—so-called "exergames"—can actually help players lose weight, increase fitness and improve balance.
That's why Humana has created Humana Games for Health, a series of initiatives designed to explore ways to positively impact health and wellness through video games. The Humana Games team employs the differing viewpoints of Humana associates, including video games enthusiasts and developers, consumer experience specialists, anthropologists, data analytics scientists, industry consultants and public health professionals—all of whom are devoted to better living through gaming—to create innovative ways to get people moving and engaged in their health in new, fun ways.
Humana Games for Health is new, but Humana has already created a website, to provide a forum for individuals, groups and institutions to share ideas and learn more about using games to improve health and wellness. Humana sponsored the fourth annual Games for Health Conference in 2008, which brought together hundreds of experts on "exergaming," physical therapy, health behavior change and cognitive exercise. And Humana has forged partnerships with the University of Southern California and the Georgia Institute of Technology to develop games that are fun to play but also have integrated health components.