Optimising the FIT Food online game app to promote the acquisition of skills and knowledge in nutrition and healthy food choice behaviours among users

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ESRC Impact Acceleration Funding has been obtained to support a new Knowledge Exchange project which aims to build relationships between the University, the European app development company Fit Talent (https://www.fit-talent.com/) and several public health collaborators. The proposed knowledge exchange work will also enable University practitioners/academics to apply the current evidence base in the areas of nutrition/food labelling and game-based learning technologies whilst working in partnership with developers to optimise the game app ‘FIT Food’.
The aim of the project is to help improve the learning power and impact of the ‘FIT Food’ app, which seeks to increase consumers’ understanding of healthy foods and empower their use of nutrition label information on food packaging. The ‘FIT Food’ game app engages players (including children, families and consumers) in considering the actual ‘healthiness’ and nutrient content of foods, and actively compares real-life products. Such learning clearly supports recent UK policy to reduce obesity and the risks associated with COVID-19 infection, including initiatives to mandate food labelling and ban ‘junk’ food advertising seen by children (Department of Health and Social Care, 2020).
By encompassing other public health organisations as collaborators, including Leeds City Council and a major UK health care professional body (the UK British Dietetic Association), the project aims to improve the specific relevance of the game to two user groups: (1) UK families with children and (2) Health Care Professionals as patient educators. Furthermore, these collaborator relationships will help realise the potential and reach/dissemination of the game and support the undertaking of future primary research to assess the game’s impact on public health and food choices.


The project will have an impact on the partner organisation (FIT Talent) by contributing to the ‘Fit Food’ app’s design, development, dissemination and making it compatible with the evidence base on powerful learning and UK/EU public health nutrition policy. 
Further impact is expected across academia and UK health professional bodies as a product of an online conference event (April 2021) organised by the ‘FIT Food’ team (https://conferences.leeds.ac.uk/fitfood/). This networking event is intended to attract academics and practitioners from disciplines including public health, nutrition, game-based learning and education. 
An introduction to this project will also be given at the University of Leeds Student Education Conference in January 2021 (https://teachingexcellence.leeds.ac.uk/events/student-education-conference-2021).

Publications and outputs

The team will produce a formal report detailing recommended areas for the optimisation and dissemination of the ‘FIT Food’ game app. In addition, project-focused publications, intended for practitioners and researchers, will be co-authored by the research team and the partner organisation.