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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: A systematic review of health videogames on childhood obesity prevention and intervention

Authors
item Lu, Amy -
item Kharrazi, Hadi -
item Gharghabi, Fardad -
item Thompson, Deborah

Submitted to: The Games for Health Journal: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 2013
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Citation: Lu, A.S., Kharrazi, H., Gharghabi, F., Thompson, D.J. 2013. A systematic review of health videogames on childhood obesity prevention and intervention. The Games for Health Journal: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications. 2(3):131-141.

Interpretive Summary: Childhood obesity is a global epidemic. Health video games are an emerging intervention strategy to combat childhood obesity. This systematic review examined published research on the effect of health video games on childhood obesity. We found that health video games that focused on overweight or obese participants were more likely to have an effect on obesity-related outcomes. Closer collaboration between reseachers and game developers could potentially establish games with a more meaningful impact.

Technical Abstract: Childhood obesity is a global epidemic. Health video games are an emerging intervention strategy to combat childhood obesity. This systematic review examined published research on the effect of health video games on childhood obesity. Fourteen articles examining 28 health video ames published between 2005 and 2013 in English were selected from 2433 articles identified through five major search engines. Results indicated that academic interest in using health video games for childhood obesity prevention has increased during this time. Most games were commercially available. Most studies were of short duration. Diverse player and game play patterns have been identified. Most studies involved players of both genders, with slightly more boys. The majority of players were non-white. Most studies had the players play the games at home, whereas some extended the play setting to school and sports/recreational facilities. Most of the games were commercially available. Positive outcomes related to obesity were observed in about 40% of the studies, all of which targeted overweight or obese participants.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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