Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Got the Muchchies after gaming? (study)

We don't often think about the foods we eat or the volume we consume.  Researchers from EORI in Canada and Danish collaborators conducted a clinical trial to examine the effects video game playing has on appetite and caloric intake.


  • within-subjects design
  • n=22
  • 15-19 years old
  • excluded regular exercisers


  • When given a meal (ad libitum) to eat after playing for an hour, participants consumed on average 80 kcal more than when in the control setting (sitting in a chair).
    • Although 80 kcals doesn't seem like a lot, "eating only 50 additional calories a day — an apple, for instance — will pack on 28 extra kilograms (62 pounds) over 10 years, said Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput, the lead author." As quoted in the National Post.
  • The increase in caloric intake occurred without a corresponding increase in appetite or sensation of hunger.

Points 2 Ponder (P2P)
  • Do different game genres illicit different responses?
  • Participants only played FIFA 09. Was the study delimited to novive FIFA 09 players or novice game players?
  • How often and for how long did these teens play video games and what types?
  • If they were new to the game, of course there would be more anxiety and increases in cardiovascular responses. 
  • If they were novice game players on that system (Xbox 360), using the game controller is a series of complex motor control tasks, which can certainly cause anxiety and increases to cardiovascular responses,
  • I like this statement on page 5-6 "Future research should include novel brain imaging techniques during video game play in an attempt to identify brain areas that might be linked to increased spontaneous food intake."
Chaput, J., Visby, T., Nyby, S., Klingenberg, L., Gregersen, N., Tremblay, A., Astrup, A., & Sjodin, A. (2011). Video game playing increases food intake in adolescents: a randomized crossover study American Journal of Clinical Nutrition DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.008680

Check out after the break for more details:

Background: Video game playing has been linked to obesity in many observational studies. However, the influence of this sedentary activity on food intake is unknown.

Objective: The objective was to examine the acute effects of sedentary video game play on various components of energy balance.

Design: With the use of a randomized crossover design, 22 healthy, normal-weight, male adolescents (mean ± SD age: 16.7 ± 1.1 y) completed two 1-h experimental conditions, namely video game play and rest in a sitting position, followed by an ad libitum lunch. The endpoints were spontaneous food intake, energy expenditure, stress markers, appetite sensations, and profiles of appetite-related hormones.

Results: Heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, sympathetic tone, and mental workload were significantly higher during the video game play condition than during the resting condition (P < 0.05). Although energy expenditure was significantly higher during video game play than during rest (mean increase over resting: 89 kJ; P < 0.01), ad libitum energy intake after video game play exceeded that measured after rest by 335 kJ (P < 0.05). A daily energy surplus of 682 kJ (163 kcal) over resting (P < 0.01) was observed in the video game play condition. The increase in food intake associated with video game play was observed without increased sensations of hunger and was not compensated for during the rest of the day. Finally, the profiles of glucose, insulin, cortisol, and ghrelin did not suggest an up-regulation of appetite during the video game play condition.

Conclusion: A single session of video game play in healthy male adolescents is associated with an increased food intake, regardless of appetite sensations. The trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01013246

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