Replacing Non-Active Video Gaming by Active Video Gaming to Prevent Excessive Weight Gain in Adolescents

M. Simons, J. Brug, M.J.M. Chin A Paw, M.R. de Boer, J.C. Seidell, E.W.M.L. de Vet

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effects of and adherence to an active video game promotion intervention on anthropometrics, sedentary screen time and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks among non-active video gaming adolescents who primarily were of healthy weight. Methods We assigned 270 gaming (i.e. ≥2 hours/week non-active video game time) adolescents randomly to an intervention group (n = 140) (receiving active video games and encouragement to play) or a waiting-list control group (n = 130). BMI-SDS (SDS = adjusted for mean st ndard deviation score), waist circumference-SDS, hip circumference and sum of skinfolds were measured at baseline, at four and ten months follow-up (primary outcomes). Sedentary screen time, physical activity, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks, and process measures (not at baseline) were assessed with self-reports at baseline, one, four and ten months follow-up. Multi-level-intention to treat-regression analyses were conducted. Results The control group decreased significantly more than the intervention group on BMI-SDS (β = 0.074, 95%CI: 0.008;0.14), and sum of skinfolds (β = 3.22, 95%CI: 0.27;6.17) (overall effects). The intervention group had a significantly higher decrease in self-reported nonactive video game time (β = -1.76, 95%CI: -3.20;-0.32) and total sedentary screen time (Exp (β = 0.81, 95%CI: 0.74;0.88) than the control group (overall effects). The process evaluation showed that 14% of the adolescents played the Move video games every week ≥1 hour/ week during the whole intervention period.Conclusions The active video game intervention did not result in lower values on anthropometrics in a group of 'excessive' non-active video gamers (mean ∼ 14 hours/week) who primarily were of healthy weight compared to a control group throughout a ten-month-period. Even some effects in the unexpected direction were found, with the control group showing lower BMISDS and skin folds than the intervention group. The intervention did result in less selfreported sedentary screen time, although these results are likely biased by social desirability.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0126023
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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