FoodWorks: tackling fussy eating by digitally augmenting children's meals

S Ganesh, Paul Marshall, Yvonne Rogers, K O'Hara
in NordiCHI 2014, Conference paper (text), Helsinki


Persuading children to eat healthily can be challenging. Parents and guardians commonly have trouble encouraging young children to eat their vegetables, who often prefer less wholesome alternatives. Parents regularly employ a range of methods that encourage or distract children to eat food they don't want to eat. Digital technologies, such as augmented reality and interactive animations offer new possibilities for enhancing this process. Our research is concerned with how such technology interventions can be used to change behavior in fussy children's eating habits by altering the context of 'playing' with food. FoodWorks was designed to digitally augment a plate of food and provide rewards for completion of the meal. An exploratory in the wild study was conducted using it with 7 families, for children aged between 3-9. The findings were encouraging, providing new insights on social interactions and the effects digital augmentation can have on eating behavior.