Friday, March 28, 2014

Active video games as a tool to prevent excessive weight gain in adolescents: rationale, design and methods of a randomized controlled trial

Excessive body weight, low physical activity and excessive sedentary time in youth are major public health concerns. A new generation of video games, the ones that require physical activity to play the games -i.e. active games- may be a promising alternative to traditional non-active games to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviours in youth. In a paper just published in the open access e-journal BMC Public Health, with Monique Simons as first author, we describe the design of a study evaluating the effects of a family oriented active game intervention. The study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT), with  adolescents aged 12 - 16 years old who spend much time in non-active gaming activities. The intervention is that they are provided with active game consoles, and active games as well as information and encouragements to promote use of console and games, and to exchange passive gaming for active gaming. We look at changes in body weight and composition and changes in physical activity, sedentary and dietary behaviours. In addition, a process evaluation is conducted, assessing the sustainability of the active games, enjoyment et cetera.