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Health insurance + video games = "medutainment"?

Kyle Orland

In a trend being somewhat sickeningly referred to as "medutainment" health insurers are increasingly trying to educate their customers on healthy living through video games, reports AIS Health Business Daily. Humana is working with USC's GamePipe Labs to create games about exciting topics like "diabetes, obesity and medical adherence," while Kaiser Permanente has created The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective to teach kids not to eat junk food.

It's a great idea in concept, but if The Amazing Food Detective is any indication, it's not going to work so well in practice. Shoehorning a blunt educational message into an extremely basic interactive "game" isn't going to get kids (or adults, for that matter) to really engage with their health any more than those cheesy health assemblies back in elementary school did. If insurance companies really want to encourage healthier living through games, they should just let people purchase Wiis with their flexible spending accounts and waggle their way to fitness.

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