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Unified Health Gamification can significantly improve well-being in corporate environments.

Unified Health Gamification can significantly improve well-being in corporate environments.

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Unified Health Gamification can significantly improve well-being in corporate environments.

Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2017 07;2017:4507-4511

Authors: Shahrestani A, Van Gorp P, Le Blanc P, Greidanus F, de Groot K, Leermakers J

Abstract
There is a multitude of mHealth applications that aim to solve societal health problems by stimulating specific types of physical activities via gamification. However, physical health activities cover just one of the three World Health Organization (WHO) dimensions of health. This paper introduces the novel notion of Unified Health Gamification (UHG), which covers besides physical health also social and cognitive health and well-being. Instead of rewarding activities in the three WHO dimensions using different mHealth competitions, UHG combines the scores for such activities on unified leaderboards and lets people interact in social circles beyond personal interests. This approach is promising in corporate environments since UHG can connect the employees with intrinsic motivation for physical health with those who have quite different interests. In order to evaluate this approach, we realized an app prototype and we evaluated it in two corporate pilot studies. In total, eighteen pilot users participated voluntarily for six weeks. Half of the participants were recruited from an occupational health setting and the other half from a treatment setting. Our results suggest that the UHG principles are worth more investigation: various positive health effects were found based on a validated survey. The mean mental health improved significantly at one pilot location and at the level of individual pilot participants, multiple other effects were found to be significant: among others, significant mental health improvements were found for 28% of the participants. Most participants intended to use the app beyond the pilot, especially if it would be further developed.

PMID: 29060899 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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