Look at us Go!: Do augmented reality games provide a new setting for improving health behaviours and equity?

"Pokemon GO has swept the world with unprecedented vivacity, reaching over 100 million users from every corner of the globe within a month of initial launch. This augmented reality game and the method by which players combine both gameplay and real world activity is producing unexpected outcomes for health equity, health-related behaviours, communities and environments, and other heath influencers. The health system is bigger than the predominant health care framework. Through the application of an equity-focused health impact assessment, AccessHC has looked to establish the effect of Pokémon Go on individuals and communities. This presentation will present: • the perceived positive and negative effects of the game; • sustainability of health effects; • future projections for the ongoing relevance on Pokémon Go and augmented reality, smartphone-based platform games’ to contribute to community health and wellbeing. This work also explored the practicality of utilising this style of platform to engage more isolated communities (i.e. socially excluded population groups) due to the perceived uptake of Pokémon Go by previously hard to reach populations. Through establishing links between Pokémon Go game play and health themes, AccessHC has questioned future engagement opportunities that allow for previously unavailable penetration into a wider community base establishing utilisable setting for health promotion. 1. Pokemon Go encourages social inclusion and connectivity 2. Sustainability of positive health behaviours is dependent on many factors, including app update release. 3. Augmented reality games provide a new, fairly untapped platform for altering health behaviours both positively and negatively."

Daisy Brundell

Access Health and Community

I have worked as a Health Promotion Practitioner for the past two years, specialising in the areas of gender equity and prevention of violence against women. I have also been an avid Pokémon fan for twenty-three years. This project originally began as a means for my Health Promotion team to learn more about Equity-Focused Health Impact Assessments in a fun and engaging way. Over time, however, it grew into dedicated and detailed research, with particular regard to the equity, sustainability, and potential uses for different health settings to engage various communities through the application of augmented reality games. I still consider myself an avid Pokémon fan today, and during this process I have even gained some new health promotion Pokémon pals!