1. Joy, Subhashni D. Singh


According to this study:


* Overweight children provided with gaming consoles and games that required movement lost more weight and increased their physical activity more than children participating only in a weight-loss program.



Article Content

The amount of time children are active is an important factor in their weight, but getting children and adolescents to be active is a challenge. The authors of a new study hypothesized that providing the hardware and software necessary to engage in movement-based video games ("active gaming") would increase physical activity in overweight children. At 11 study sites (YMCAs and schools), the researchers recruited 75 children between eight and 12 years of age who had a body mass index (BMI) higher than the 85th percentile for their age and height. All participants took part, along with one parent or guardian, in a modified version of the JOIN for ME pediatric weight-management program, which involved 16 weekly educational sessions. All children were asked to wear motion sensors during the day to measure physical activity. Thirty-four children also received a game console (Xbox and Kinect) and two active sports games, although they were not provided specific activity goals.


Retention across both groups was 80%; there were no significant differences between those who completed the study and those who didn't. In the active gaming group, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity had increased significantly at weeks 8 and 16, compared with baseline. In contrast, moderate-to-vigorous activity had decreased in the program-only group at weeks 8 and 16. Likewise, vigorous activity had increased in the active gaming group at week 16 but had decreased in the program-only group. Although BMIs and the percentage of children who were overweight at week 16 were significantly lower in both groups, reductions in the active gaming group were significantly greater. Weight loss in the gaming group averaged 0.85 kg, compared with 0.5 kg in program-only participants.


The study authors noted that because of the short study duration, these effects can only be viewed as short term. They encourage additional research with longer follow-up, in addition to a cost-effectiveness analysis, given that costs associated with gaming consoles and games would be prohibitive to some families.




Trost SG, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(5):407-13