Thursday, November 1, 2012

25% of Teens Play Exergames! Do You? (Study)

As posted earlier from a recent press release in Pediatrics, about 25% of youth play exergames, twice per week on average, for  about 50 minutes each bout and with 73% of exergamers playing them at a moderate (MPA) or vigorous intensity (VPA).

O'Loughlin EK, Dugas EN, Sabiston CM, & O'Loughlin JL (2012). Prevalence and Correlates of Exergaming in Youth. Pediatrics PMID: 23027171

These levels are quite a bit higher than the figures we reported a few years ago (average 25 minutes), but this makes sense as popularity of motion gaming has exploded since then. Given the current figures (number of units produced) of the newest generation of camera-based controllers including Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move are 19 and 10.5 millions units respectively (Matthews, 2012; Moriarty, 2012) it seems evident that the games industry has mbraced this new wave of activity-based video games.
Yang, S.P., Treece, J.L, Miklas, C, & Graham, G (2009). Physical activity, sedentary, and exergaming time in a PEP school Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport , 80 (1(Supplement))

Click here to explore more of ExerGame Lab's archived posts involving research studies. 

OBJECTIVES: Less than 15% of children and adolescents participate regularly in physical activity (PA) and, with ever-increasing obesity, strategies to improve PA levels in youth are urgently needed. Exergaming offers a PA alternative that may be especially attractive in our increasingly technophilic society. However, there are no observational studies of exergaming in population-based samples of adolescents. The purpose of this study was to investigate potential sociodemographic, lifestyle, psychosocial, weight-related, and mental health correlates of exergaming as well as describe the type, timing, and intensity of exergaming in a population-based sample of adolescents.

METHODS: Data on exergame use and potential sociodemographic, lifestyle, psychosocial, weight-related, and mental health correlates of exergaming were collected in mailed self-report questionnaires completed by 1241 grade 10 and 11 students from the Montreal area with a mean age of 16.8 years (SD = 0.05 years; 43% male) participating in the AdoQuest study. The independent correlates of exergaming were identified in multivariable logistic regression models.

RESULTS: Nearly one-quarter (24%) of participants reported exergaming. Exergamers played 2 days per week on average, for ∼50 minutes each bout; 73% of exergamers played at a moderate or vigorous intensity. Exergamers were more likely than nonexergamers to be girls, to play nonactive video games, to watch ≥2 hours of television per day, to be stressed about weight, and to be nonsmokers.

CONCLUSIONS: Many adolescents exergame at intensity levels that could help them achieve current moderate-to-vigorous PA recommendations. Interventions that encourage exergaming may increase PA and decrease sedentary behavior in select youth subgroups, notably in girls.

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