Introduction: Active video games have been purported to offer an alternative means by which children can be physically active but few data have examined this issue in ecologically valid settings. This study sought to assess physical activity levels during active videogame play and compare this to ‘free play’ associated with recess activity in a sample of British primary school children. Methods: Forty children (ages 10-11, 20 boys, 20 girls) from central England were randomly selected to participate in a 6 week, lunchbreak based, active video gaming intervention (n=20) or act as controls (n=20). Repeated measures analysis of covariance (controlling for body mass index) was used to examine any differences in physical activity, determined by pedometry and heart rate monitoring. Results: Children in the intervention accumulated significantly greater steps/min than controls during the first week of the intervention. The steps/min values were not significantly different at the mid point or during the last week of the assessment period. Irrespective of time point, children engaging in active video game play spent a lesser percentage of time engaged in MVPA than controls undertaking ‘traditional’ recess activity. Conclusion: Active video game physical activity using the Gamercize power stepper appears to be similar to physical activity levels during traditional school lunchbreak over a 6 week period. Active videogaming may therefore provide an alternative means to engage children in physical activity in the school setting.
Bibliographical noteThe full text published article is available from the Medicina Sportiva website. Medicina Sportiva is an open access journal, providing free online access.
- heart rate monitoring