About the Lab
Thompson Lab focuses on investigating ways to prevent youth obesity and related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, by promoting healthy diet and physical activity behaviors.
The lab’s work partners with youth and families to understand perceptions, motivations, and expectations regarding a particular behavior, then uses this information to design interventions promoting healthy lifestyles. Much of our work includes surveys to develop a broad understanding of factors that influence behavior (i.e., personal beliefs, motivations; family; community) and qualitative interviews to develop a deeper understanding of these issues from the participant’s perspective and how they influence behavior. Using a co-design approach, members of the lab then use this information to develop tailored interventions that are more likely to reflect the needs and expectations of a particular group.
All of our intervention work further investigates ways in which to harness the power of digital technology to engage participants and overcome the limitations of in-person interventions. Examples of digital interventions we have developed include “serious” video games (games designed with the dual focus of behavior change and entertainment), mobile health interventions (text messages), online programs (web based interventions hosted on password protected websites), and exergames navigated by a personalized avatar (games that require the real world movement to play the game).