Carnegie Mellon University

Research Studies

Mobile Game–Based Digital Vaccine for Reducing Risk of Lifestyle Diseases

With the rising epidemic of pediatric obesity worldwide, there is a critical need to design appropriate interventions for children’s behavior formation and change to help mitigate long-term risk of lifestyle diseases. While many factors contribute to pediatric overweight and obesity, dietary decisions are a leading cause. Video games on mobile devices have great potential to influence children’s dietary-lifestyle behaviors in a fun and enjoyable way during the habit formation stage of early childhood. The aim of this completed study was to examine the impact of a diet and lifestyle focused mobile game on children’s game play patterns and associate these patterns with their actual food choices using a randomized controlled trial and machine learning and statistical models. We find strong evidence of the positive effect of the mobile game on actual food choices and identify strategic game play patterns that are associated with better actual food choices.

Digital Vaccine for Pediatric Diabetes Care? A Randomized Control Trial in India

The primary aim of this study is to assess and quantify the longitudinal impact of two mobile Apps, called fooya!® and fooya!D, on the dietary habits, clinical markers, and diet-related knowledge of children diagnosed with Type 1 (T1D) and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). A second aim is to assess neurocognitive habit formation mechanisms and assimilation of healthy diet related content made available via the Apps. “fooya!” is a software platform for neurocognitive training and habit formation through a game-like, mobile app, which has been developed and shown to positively influence children’s food choices and consumption. “fooya!” has been developed with the goal of reducing risk of lifestyle diseases by providing an evidence-based technology solution for prevention of diabetes that empowers children to make healthier food and lifestyle choices. “fooya! D” has been adapted from “fooya!” and extended to serve a pediatric population of T1D and T2D participants to empower them with a better ability to self-care through education about insulin management, energy balance, counting carbohydrates, and overall diabetes awareness and management.


The Digital Vaccine Research is generously supported by the Remala Family Foundation.