Effects of active video games on body composition: A randomized controlled trial

Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 07/2011; 94(1):156-63. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009142
Source: PubMed


Sedentary activities such as video gaming are independently associated with obesity. Active video games, in which players physically interact with images on screen, may help increase physical activity and improve body composition.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of active video games over a 6-mo period on weight, body composition, physical activity, and physical fitness.
We conducted a 2-arm, parallel, randomized controlled trial in Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 322 overweight and obese children aged 10-14 y, who were current users of sedentary video games, were randomly assigned at a 1:1 ratio to receive either an active video game upgrade package (intervention, n = 160) or to have no change (control group, n = 162). The primary outcome was the change from baseline in body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)). Secondary outcomes were changes in percentage body fat, physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, video game play, and food snacking.
At 24 wk, the treatment effect on BMI (-0.24; 95% CI: -0.44, -0.05; P = 0.02) favored the intervention group. The change (±SE) in BMI from baseline increased in the control group (0.34 ± 0.08) but remained the same in the intervention group (0.09 ± 0.08). There was also evidence of a reduction in body fat in the intervention group (-0.83%; 95% CI: -1.54%, -0.12%; P = 0.02). The change in daily time spent playing active video games at 24 wk increased (10.03 min; 95% CI: 6.26, 13.81 min; P < 0.0001) with the intervention accompanied by a reduction in the change in daily time spent playing nonactive video games (-9.39 min; 95% CI: -19.38, 0.59 min; P = 0.06).
An active video game intervention has a small but definite effect on BMI and body composition in overweight and obese children. This trial was registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry at http://www.anzctr.org.au/ as ACTRN12607000632493.

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    • "However, exercise programs can also be designed to engage the participant's curiosity and intrinsic motivation in a freer, more independent, setting. Maddison et al. (2011), for instance, implemented their intervention by sending participants the hardware and software to play AVGs at home. Thus, by gamifying exercise programs, it could be possible to rely on children's desire for play, rather than designing and implementing elaborate formalized interventions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to quantify the effectiveness of active videogames (AVGs) as obesity prevention interventions aimed at children and adolescents. Method: Studies were included that focused on children or adolescents (≤18 years), assessed BMI as the outcome measure, used one or more AVGs as intervention, employed a controlled experimental design, used BMI as an outcome measure, enrolled participants up to and including 18 years of age, and comprised original studies. Employing these inclusion criteria, nine studies were included in the meta-analysis. Results: Active videogames had a small to medium-sized and significant average effect on children and adolescents: Hedges’ g = 0.38 (95% CI: 0.00 - 0.77). Heterogeneity was substantial (I2 = .91) but neither participants’ weight status, nor sample size, intervention duration or dropout moderated the effect of AVGs. Conclusion: The results of this meta-analysis provide preliminary evidence that active videogames can decrease BMI among children/adolescents.
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    • "There is evidence to suggest that these games are able to increase energy expenditure and movement above rest and sedentary game play in a laboratory setting (Straker & Abbott 2007; Straker et al. 2009). However, four randomised and controlled field trials have shown that home access to AVG does not substantially increase children's daily physical activity (Maddison et al., 2011; Maloney et al., 2008; Straker, Abbott, & Smith, 2013). Despite this, it would appear that there remains potential for AVG to indirectly enhance population physical activity levels, particularly in clinical populations . "
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    ABSTRACT: Impaired motor development can significantly affect a child's life and may result in an increased risk of a range of physical and psychological disorders. Active video game (AVG) interventions have been demonstrated to enhance motor skills in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD); however a home-based intervention has not been assessed. The primary aim of this study was to compare the changes in motor coordination between a 16week period of AVG use, with 16weeks of normal activities (NAG). The secondary aim was to compare the child and parent perceptions of their physical performance between the AVG and NAG conditions. Twenty-one 9-12year olds (10 males) were confirmed to be at risk of DCD (⩽16th percentile Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2nd edition (MABC-2) and ⩽15th percentile Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire (DCDQ)) and participated in this crossover randomised and controlled trial. Data was collected at study entry, after the first 16week condition and following the final 16week condition, including; (1) the MABC-2, (2) three-dimensional motion analysis of single leg balance and finger-nose tasks, and (3) parent perception of physical skills. Participant perception of physical skills was collected only after the first and second conditions. There was no significant difference between AVG and NAG for any of the primary variables including the MABC-2, balance centre-of-mass path distance and finger-nose path distance. There was no significant intervention effect for secondary measures of motor coordination; however the children perceived their motor skills to be significantly enhanced as a result of the AVG intervention in comparison to the period of no intervention. A 16week home based AVG intervention did not enhance motor skills in children with DCD, although they perceived their physical skills to be significantly improved. Australia and New Zealand Clinical trials Registry (ACTRN 12611000400965). Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Human movement science 08/2015; 42. DOI:10.1016/j.humov.2015.04.011 · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    • "Recent research results have shown that exergames may have a positive effect on body mass index and body composition in overweight and obese children (Maddison et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: With the novelty of exergames, an alternative form of entertainment and exercise emerged especially for physical education (PE). While video games have been historically associated to problems such as obesity, social introversion and aggressive behavior, exergames brought a new perspective in which these cultural artifacts could contribute to people's education concerning the practice of physical activity. This article presents a study about the setting up of an exergame lab focusing on kids and preadolescents who usually show signs of dissatisfaction with PE. The research methodology followed a qualitative observation approach, involving twenty-four students of both genders for three months. Results demonstrated that students who were normally unmotivated to participate in PE classes showed a positive attitude regarding the exergame practices and demonstrated their willingness to collaborate with peers. The study also showed that exergaming provides situations in which students can increase the regularity of their practice of physical exercises.
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