Background: Youths eat fewer fruits and vegetables than recommended. Effective methods are needed to increase and maintain their fruit and vegetable consumption. Goal setting has been an effective behavior change procedure among adults, but has had limited effectiveness among youths. Implementation intentions are specific plans to facilitate goal attainment. Redefining goal setting to include implementation intentions may be an effective way to increase effectiveness. Video games offer a controlled venue for conducting behavioral research and testing hypotheses to identify mechanisms of effect.
Objective: This report describes the protocol that guided the design and evaluation of Squire's Quest! II, a video game aimed to increase child fruit and vegetable consumption.
Methods: Squire's Quest! II is a 10-episode videogame promoting fruit and vegetable consumption to 4th and 5th grade children (approximately 9-11 year old youths). A four group randomized design (n=400 parent/child dyads) was used to systematically test the effect of two types of implementation intentions (action, coping) on fruit and vegetable goal attainment and consumption of 4th and 5th graders. Data collection occurred at baseline, immediately post game-play, and 3 months later. Child was the unit of assignment. Three dietary recalls were collected at each data collection period by trained interviewers using the Nutrient Data System for Research (NDSR 2009). Psychosocial and process data were also collected.
Results: To our knowledge, this is the first research to explore the effect of implementation intentions on child fruit and vegetable goal attainment and consumption.
Conclusions: This intervention will contribute valuable information regarding whether implementation intentions are effective with elementary age children.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01004094.
Keywords: video game, nutrition, fruit, vegetable, children, intervention, action implementation intention, coping implementation intention, goal setting.