Escape Games for Better Nutrition
Researchers at the Technion and their partners in Europe have developed escape games designed to improve the Western population’s quality of nutrition
In recent years, Western countries have seen a significant increase in obesity and intestinal illnesses, affecting human health and endangering their lives. These phenomena are largely due to the Western lifestyle, which is characterized by a decrease in physical activity and high consumption of processed foods, rich in sugar and salt.
One of the ways to improve this lifestyle is through education, which is the basis of the “Games of Food” – an innovative European project led by Professor Miri Barak of the Technion’s Faculty of Education in Science and Technology. The project is supported by EIT-Food, the European Food Innovation and Technology Institute, which is run by the EU.
According to Prof. Barak, “Games are an important educational tool, used by people since the dawn of history. In this project, we chose an escape game – a very popular genre. Escape games are a learning experience organized around an interesting frame story, and the participants are integral to the development of the plot.”
The two escape games developed as part of the initiative are: “The Zombie Attack” and “Nutrition Mission”. The first game, depicting an apocalyptic future where zombies have taken over the world, requires participants to solve puzzles associated with a healthy diet. The second game, where humanity lives in a giant spacecraft, requires the disclosure of information related to a balanced diet: Identifying food groups, calculating calorific value, detecting nutritious foods, planning a balanced meal, and more.
To test the effectiveness of the “games of food” in different cultures, they were tested by young people from Israel, England, Poland, Finland, and Belgium. The participants stated that they greatly enjoyed the multisensory experience and teamwork in the puzzle-solving process and that they learned very important facts about a healthy diet, as well as reducing environmental damage.
The project includes researchers from the University of Reading, the University of Warsaw, the University of Helsinki, the European Food Information Council in Belgium and the Center for Food Research (VTT) in Finland. The Technion’s involvement in the international project was initiated by Prof. Yoav Livni of the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering. The project is accompanied by empirical research led by Mrs. Tal Yachin, as part of her Doctoral dissertation, under the guidance of Prof. Barak.
Learn more about the project, the games and the participants’ learning experience HERE
The project’s website: https://www.gamesoffood.com