Couch Potatoes to Jumping Beans: A Pilot Study of the Effect of Active Video Games on Physical Activity in Children

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity






The primary objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the effect of active video games on children's physical activity levels.Twenty children (mean +/- SD age = 12 +/- 1.5 years; 40% female) were randomised to receive either an active video game upgrade package or to a control group (no intervention). Effects on physical activity over the 12-week intervention period were measured using objective (Actigraph accelerometer) and subjective (Physical Activity Questionnaire for Children [PAQ-C]) measures. An activity log was used to estimate time spent playing active and non-active video games.Children in the intervention group spent less mean time over the total 12-week intervention period playing all video games compared to those in the control group (54 versus 98 minutes/day [difference = -44 minutes/day, 95% CI [-92, 2]], p = 0.06). Average time spent in all physical activities measured with an accelerometer was higher in the active video game intervention group compared to the control group (difference at 6 weeks = 194 counts/min, p = 0.04, and at 12 weeks = 48 counts/min, p = 0.06).This preliminary study suggests that playing active video games on a regular basis may have positive effects on children's overall physical activity levels. Further research is needed to confirm if playing these games over a longer period of time could also have positive effects on children's body weight and body mass index.

Trial Registration Number: ACTRN012606000018516.


Published in: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2008, 5:8. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-5-8

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