Thursday, May 24, 2012

Positive effect of videogames #exergames on body composition

Researchers (Maddison et al.) from New Zealand analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial of an active videogame intervention on body composition, looking at mediating effects of secondary outcomes. The trial found that playing the videogame reduced participants’ body mass index at 24 weeks, but, there was no effect on physical activity (physical activity levels were the same) or food snacking.

The researchers concluded that “playing exergames can have a positive effect on body composition in overweight or obese children and this effect is most likely mediated through improved aerobic fitness.” They also indicated additional research about this type of intervention and mediators, such as preferences for physical activity or changes in sedentary behavior, is needed.

Maddison R, Ni Mhurchu C, Jull A, Prapavessis H, Foley LS, & Jiang Y (2012). Active video games: the mediating effect of aerobic fitness on body composition. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9 (1) PMID: 22554052

322 overweight and obese children aged 10–14 years.

Exergames Played
EyeToy Play3, EyeToy Kinetic, EyeToy Sport, and Dance Factory

Only aerobic fitness at 24 weeks met the conditions for mediation, and was a significant mediator of BMI.

Exergaming Points 2 Ponder (P2P)
  • If there was no difference in physical activity, why was there a difference in VO2 change? How do you explain the difference?
  • If the accelerometer epoch was not sensitive enough to capture the data effectively for time spent exergaming, how can you be sure that the exergames mediated the change in body composition via increased fitness. In other words, how do you know that the participants got fitter from playing exergames?
  • Were they given a prescription to play a certain number of times, intensity, difficulty, with or without friends/family?
  • Should fitness levels be an accurate proxy measure when using similar accelerometers for exergaming studies?
  • What would you have done differently?
Click here to explore more of ExerGame Lab's archived posts involving research studies. 

Other paper published on same data:
Maddison, R., Foley, L., Ni Mhurchu, C., Jiang, Y., Jull, A., Prapavessis, H., Hohepa, M., & Rodgers, A. (2011). Effects of active video games on body composition: a randomized controlled trial American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94 (1), 156-163 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009142
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Additional Games for Health Keynotes!
Constance Steinkuehler Squire, senior policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will discuss the opportunities for videogames to address national challenges, including those in health, health care, and biotechnology.

Bill Crounse, MD, senior director of worldwide health for Microsoft, will present “Connecting & Kinecting Health and Health Care,” which will explore how Microsoft and its partners are merging its information and game technologies to create global solutions for personal health and professional health care.

Jane McGonigal, New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of SuperBetter Labs, will highlight the design and release of SuperBetter, a game-based social application designed to help people boost personal resilience and lead healthier, longer, and more positive lives.

Jay Walker, curator and chairman of TEDMED, a global community of people who passionately believe that the future of health and medicine is here, will provide the end-of-conference special guest keynote: “Gaming the System”.

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Increased understanding of why and how physical activity impacts on health outcomes is needed to increase the effectiveness of physical activity interventions. A recent randomized controlled trial of an active video game (PlayStation EyeToyTM) intervention showed a statistically significant treatment effect on the primary outcome, change from baseline in body mass index (BMI), which favored the intervention group at 24 weeks. In this short paper we evaluate the mediating effects of the secondary outcomes.
To identify mediators of the effect of an active video games intervention on body composition.
Data from a two-arm parallel randomized controlled trial of an active video game intervention (n = 322) were analyzed. The primary outcome was change from baseline in BMI. A priori secondary outcomes were considered as potential mediators of the intervention on BMI, including aerobic fitness (VO2Max), time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and food snacking at 24 weeks.
Only aerobic fitness at 24 weeks met the conditions for mediation, and was a significant mediator of BMI.
Playing active video games can have a positive effect on body composition in overweight or obese children and this effect is most likely mediated through improved aerobic fitness. Future trials should examine other potential mediators related to this type of intervention. Trial registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Website: Study ID number: ACTRN12607000632493

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