Sunday, November 17, 2013

Active gaming: prevalence and correlates in Dutch adolescents

Active gaming, i.e. playing computer games that require physical activity instead of sitting, is regarded as a possible effective strategy to promote physical activity and discourage too much sitting. In a study just published online in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports -with Monique Simons as first author- we studied the prevalence and identified demographic correlates of active and non-active gaming among adolescents.
In a among 373 12-16 year olds we asked the respondents about their game behavior and a range of background characteristics.
Of all respondents, 3% reported to play exclusively active games, 40% active games and non-active games, 40% exclusively non-active games, and 17% not playing video games at all. Active gaming adolescents played active games on average on 1.5 days per school week for 36  minutes and 1 day per weekend for 42 minutes. Non-active gamers played quite a bit more; on average on 3.3 days per school week for 65 minutes and 1.4 days per weekend for 80 minutes. Adolescents attending lower levels of education were more likely to play active games ≥1 hour per week than adolescents attending higher educational levels. Boys and older adolescents were more likely to play non-active games >7 hours per week, than girls or younger adolescents.
We concluded that many adolescents play active games, especially those following a lower educational level, but time spent in this activity is relatively low compared to non-active gaming. To be feasible as a public health strategy, active gaming interventions should achieve more time is spent on active gaming at the expense of non-active gaming.