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

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 8;10(7):e0126023. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126023. eCollection 2015.


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 standard 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 non-active 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 BMI-SDS and skin folds than the intervention group. The intervention did result in less self-reported sedentary screen time, although these results are likely biased by social desirability.

Trial registration: Dutch Trial Register NTR3228.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Anthropometry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Video Games*
  • Weight Gain*

Associated data

  • NTR/NTR3228

Grant support

This work was supported by a grant from The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development ( number: 120520012). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.Sony Benelux provided the PlayStation Move packages and video games for the study participants, but did not have any role in the design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.