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Active Video Games and Sustainable Physical Activity

9 Years
13 Years
Not Enrolling
Physical Inactivity in Children

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Trial Information

Active Video Games and Sustainable Physical Activity

The study aims to investigate (1) the temporal trajectory from point of accession of active
and inactive video game play in the home environment, (2) the effect of active video game
play on overall physical activity and BMI, (3) effects of motivational variables, perceived
neighborhood safety, media parenting practices and the home media environment on game play,
and (4) what video game characteristics encourage sustainability of play.

Eighty children and their primary caregivers will be recruited to participate in and
randomly assigned to the approximately 12 week study. Participating families will be given a
Wii* video game console, Wii accessories necessary to play the games and two active or
inactive video games**: one at the beginning of the first 6-week period and one at the
beginning of the second 6-week period. PA levels of participating children will be measured
using accelerometry the week prior to the introduction of the video game (baseline) and on
weeks 1, 6, 7, and 12. They will keep a log of video game play on weeks 1, 6, 7 and 12.
Objective video game play time will be transcribed at the end of week 12 from calendar
stored in the Wii console. Height, weight, waist circumference, triceps skinfold will be
measured prior to beginning study (baseline), and weeks 6 and 12. Questionnaires designed to
examine the motivation to play a video game (end of weeks 6 and 12) and brief (about 15
minutes) qualitative interview on the children's experiences with the games (end of weeks 6
and 12) will be administered. Parents will complete baseline, week 6 and week 12
questionnaires about their family and child.

*The Wii console has been chosen for this project as it is the platform for the majority of
currently popular active video games and it also automatically stores information on name of
game played and duration of game play for each play period in a day based calendar. This
provides an objective measurement of game use within the family overall, which cannot be
modified by the user and can only be deleted by resetting the system.

**To allow reasonably free choice of videos and close replication of the natural setting,
the two video games given to a family will be chosen by the 9-12 year-old participant from a
selection of either inactive or active video games (depending on group assignment). The Wii
video games selected for this study are all rated E (Everyone) by the Entertainment Software
Rating Board (E have content suitable for ages 6 and older) and were chosen based on current
popularity and review of market rankings. The selected Wii video games include:

Inactive Wii video games: Madden NFL 10, Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario
Galaxy 2, Disney Sing It, Band Hero, Mario Party 8, Animal Crossing: City Folk, NBA 2K10,
New Super Mario Brothers, Sim Animals Africa, Super Paper Mario and Endless Ocean 2:
Beautiful Ocean.

Active Wii video games: Wii Sport Resort, Wii Sport, Wii Fit, Wii Play, EA Sports Active,
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, Dance, Dance Revolution, Active Life: Extreme
Challenge, Academy of Champions, Summer Sports 2: Island Sports Party, and Super Monkey Ball
Step and Roll.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Children between the ages of 9-12 years old.

- Child and family are able to speak, understand, read and write English.

- No medical problems, including epileptic seizures, that would prevent child from
playing inactive or active video games.

- No family history of epileptic seizures.

- Parents will allow child to play our video games.

- Household does not currently has a Wii video game console.

- Baseline visit activity monitor wear will be a compliance criterion for moving
forward in the study. Although we ask for 7 days of data, if they return 5 complete
days, then they meet the criteria. Without 5 complete days, they are dropped before
randomization and thus before receiving the Wii. If we cannot get 5 or 7 days at
baseline, it is unlikely that we will get 5 of 7 days at ensuing assessments (based
on our 10+ years experience of collecting this type of data).

Exclusion Criteria:

- Children not between the ages of 9-12 years old.

- Child having epilepsy (since playing video games may lead to seizures among those
with epilepsy).

- Family history of epileptic seizures.

- Household members not able to speak, understand, read and write English.

- Other medical problems that prevent child from playing inactive or active video

- Parents will not allow child to play our video games.

- Household currently has a Wii video game console.

- Child not wearing nor completing the initial baseline 7 day, minimum 800 minutes per
day, activity monitor data collection.

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Subject), Primary Purpose: Prevention

Outcome Measure:

increased physical activity

Outcome Time Frame:

4 months

Safety Issue:



United States: Institutional Review Board

Study ID:




Start Date:

November 2009

Completion Date:

December 2010

Related Keywords:

  • Physical Inactivity in Children
  • active video games
  • children
  • physical activity



Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Texas  77030