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 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.
    Handbook of Research on Holistic Perspectives in Gamification for Clinical Practice, Edited by Daniel Novak, Bengisu Tulu, Havar Brendryen, 10/2015: pages 277-292; IGI Global., ISBN: 9781466695221
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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.
    International Journal of Game-Based Learning 07/2015; 5(3):1-10. DOI:10.4018/IJGBL.2015070101
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    • "Trials using digital games to increase physical activity have shown that a positive effect on body/mass index can be seen (Maddison et al. 2011). While studies show that the curiosity for digital games in educational context increases in Sweden (Brandberg 2010), the interest and participation in traditional sports have declined (Sköld 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Digital games have been introduced as educational tools in upper secondary education (Wiklund and Ekenberg 2009) and studies show signs of improved language skills for students playing digital games (Mitchell and Savill-Smith 2004; Brandberg 2010), but there are few cases where digital games are used for physical education, or exergaming. To explore former secondary school students' attitudes towards the use of digital games in physical education, a study was conducted. Survey findings were complemented through interviews aligned to the survey questionnaire. Results show that 59% of the respondents were positive to the concept of using computer games to aid physical education, while 40% claimed that it would not affect their attitude towards physical activities. The remaining 1% stated that it would reduce their motivation for physical education classes if exergames were introduced. Results showed no clear connection between individual interests and attitude towards exergames, except for those with a high interest in gaming showing a more positive attitude in general. Some variations in the attitudes towards different game genres were shown with stationary exergames being the most popular.
    ECEL‐2014, 13th European Conference on e‐Learning, Copenhagen, Denmark; 10/2014
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