UAEU researcher invents the virtual game ” EMEL ” to reduce childhood obesity

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Al Ain: The Department of Physical Education at the United Arab Emirates University inaugurated the experimental day of the medical game ” EMEL ” to treat obesity in children, in the presence of Dr. Hossam Al Tatari, a pediatrician and an expert in childhood obesity – and several faculty members at the College of Education.

The game was invented by Dr. Maroua Belghali – Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Education at the College of Education.

The game ” EMEL ” serves the health and cultural aspect of children in terms of raising their awareness of healthy eating and its impact on health using an entertainment method with the aim of reducing obesity in children and adolescents.

Through the game EMEL, the child performs physical and cognitive exercises while being supported by means of virtual reality such as 3D glasses, smart shoes and shirts that monitor the child’s heart rate while playing in a 45-minute session. For example, a child is asked to virtually ride a bicycle to learn the benefits of healthy foods and the harms of fast food. In the virtual game, options such as drinking a soft drink or eating a carrot pop up. If the child chooses the first, movement slows down and breath narrows. However, if the child chooses the carrot, the vision increases and movement speeds up.  

Dr. Maroua Belghali, inventor of the game EMEL, says: “EMEL (ENJOY, MOVE, EDUCATE, AND LOSE WEIGHT) is the world’s first medical serious to both treat and prevent childhood obesity. Its main purpose is to stimulate more physical activity and better nutrition education into kids’ life.

Dr. Maroua is participating in the game in the Australian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and is currently in the process of obtaining a patent following the release of the preliminary results of the research. This research will contribute to creating a healthy generation in innovative ways.