How health 2.0 technologies can help teens and children take care of their health

January 25, 2012

Thanks to technology, today there are many ways to promote health for children and teens while making it a fun and natural part of everyday life. This not only makes life easier for the ones who suffer from severe illnesses, but also helps children and teenagers stay informed and take care of their general health.

Promoting healthy behavior among teens and kids
Several initiatives have been taken to empower and encourage teens to make healthy choices. New approaches appear inevitable in a world where Internet, social media, and smartphones play a major part in the everyday lives of both teens and adults, and even children.

An example of a new approach to engage teens is the ubiquitous black and white squares called Quick Response codes, which are starting to gain momentum in healthcare. They are quick and easy to use and help get people onto the mobile web sites of health programs and services. For instance, it has been used by hospitals, clinics and health services.

Physical therapy with the Wii Balance Board
Validated by medical researchers, the Nintendo Wii Balance Board has been used to create a balance training system to help physically challenged kids suffering from cerebral palsy or other disorders via a therapeutic game that helps these children advance their skills in a fun way. Five boards with motion-sensing capabilities are lined up and the patients have to shoot approaching monsters by hitting particular spots with their feet as they step along the Wii array, which encourages them to improve their postures.

A way to make life easier for diabetic children
Life is not easy for children suffering from diabetes and dealing with daily stresses, but it can be less painful thanks to the blood glucose monitoring device developed by Bayer Didget. It is shaped like a Game Boy cartridge, so that you can plug it into your Nintendo DS with a strip with a blood sample inserted. The blood sugar levels are displayed on the device and at the same time it unlocks new levels for every drop of blood drawn and thus rewards the child.
For the younger children, Finn the Glucose Fish can help remove some of the anxiety connected to making glucose tests. The strips are stored inside of the fish and the lancet attaches to the meter. It’s shaped to fit into the child’s hand with large buttons for little fingers.

A tool that can make life a little easier for teens, who have to manage a life with homework, extracurricular activities, friends – and diabetes, is the innovative app DiaPETic, which encourages glucose testing and provides tips for managing the disease with elements of gaming.

What do you think of promoting healthy behavior among kids and teens through gaming and QR codes?