Effects of Nintendo Wii-Fit ® video games on balance in children with mild cerebral palsy

Pediatr Int. 2016 Oct;58(10):1042-1050. doi: 10.1111/ped.12942. Epub 2016 Aug 23.


Background: This study compared the effects of Nintendo Wii-Fit® balance-based video games and conventional balance training in children with mild cerebral palsy (CP).

Methods: This randomized controlled trial involved 30 ambulatory pediatric patients (aged 5-18 years) with CP. Participants were randomized to either conventional balance training (control group) or to Wii-Fit balance-based video games training (Wii group). Both group received neuro-developmental treatment (NDT) during 24 sessions. In addition, while the control group received conventional balance training in each session, the Wii group played Nintendo Wii Fit games such as ski slalom, tightrope walk and soccer heading on balance board. Primary outcomes were Functional Reach Test (forward and sideways), Sit-to-Stand Test and Timed Get up and Go Test. Nintendo Wii Fit balance, age and game scores, 10 m walk test, 10-step climbing test and Wee-Functional Independence Measure (Wee FIM) were secondary outcomes.

Results: After the treatment, changes in balance scores and independence level in activities of daily living were significant (P < 0.05) in both groups. Statistically significant improvements were found in the Wii-based game group compared with the control group in all balance tests and total Wee FIM score (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Wii-fit balance-based video games are better at improving both static and performance-related balance parameters when combined with NDT treatment in children with mild CP.

Keywords: cerebral palsy; mobility; postural control; video game; virtual reality therapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Video Games
  • Walking / physiology*