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Designing Apps to Keep Kids Healthy: An Interview with Wellapets Creator Alex Ryu

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In April we reviewed Wellapets, a game that’s fun and teaches kids how to handle asthma. We talked to Alex Ryu, the CEO and Co-Founder of Wellapets maker LifeGuard Games. Ryu took a leave from Harvard Medical School to launch Wellapets, which debuted this year to excellent reviews from parents, healthcare professionals, and kids.

We wanted to know more about the shifting landscape of educational games and the impact that Wellapets has made—read on to find out what he had to say.

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Active Gaming Is Good for you–but why Make it all About Weight Loss?

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UnitedHealth Group has conducted a study on the effects of active video games on childhood obesity.

The 16-week program confirmed that children who played active video games on the Kinect lost more weight than their counterparts who were not provided with a Kinect system. According to the results, the kids who had a Kinect had an “increase of 7.5 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous activity.”

One of the girls from the study, 12-year-old Ravyn Hill, appreciated that the games she played were more “fun” than traditional exercise. The fun factor could contribute to helping kids stay active habitually.

Unfortunately, the study seems to have focused on weight loss and is not reporting other health factors that are more important, such as cardiovascular health.

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The Ergonomics of Gaming: Common Orthopedic Injuries and How to Avoid Them

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Games can be heart-pounding, but if you’re feeling the burn without leaving your chair, something’s wrong with the way you play. While most people think that they’re not at risk for orthopedic injuries in the comfort of their own homes, you can develop a painful condition without leaving your desk—and if you never leave your desk, you’re at greater risk. Here are three of the most common gaming injuries, with some tips for keeping yourself pain free.

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