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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: Video game play, child diet, and physical activity behavior change: A randomized clinical trial

Authors
item Baranowski, Tom -
item Baranowski, Janice -
item THOMPSON, DEBORAH
item Buday, Richard -
item Jago, Russ -
item Griffith, Melissa -
item Islam, Noemi -
item Nguyen, Nga -
item Watson, Kathleen -

Submitted to: American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 29, 2010
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Citation: Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J., Thompson, D.J., Buday, R., Jago, R., Griffith, M., Islam, N., Nguyen, N., Watson, K. 2011. Video game play, child diet, and physical activity behavior change: A randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 40(1):33-38.

Interpretive Summary: Video games designed based on principles of behavior change offer some promise of helping children change their diet and physical activity practices. If the changes are maintained over a long time, the video game could contribute to preventing obesity. This study evaluated whether two video games, Escape from Diab and Nanoswarm: Invasion from Inner Space, played in sequence, helped children change their diet and physical activity practices. Diab and Nano were designed to employ behavior change procedures promoted before current theories related to behavior change. The results indicated that children playing both games increased their fruit and vegetable intake by two-thirds a serving per day, but did not influence physical activity or obesity. Analyses that are more detailed are needed to identify where and how the fruit and vegetable changes occurred.

Technical Abstract: Video games designed to promote behavior change are a promising venue to enable children to learn healthier behaviors. The purpose is to evaluate the outcome from playing "Escape from Diab" (Diab) and "Nanoswarm: Invasion from Inner Space" (Nano) video games on children's diet, physical activity, and adiposity. Designed as a two-group RCT; assessments occurred at baseline, immediately after Diab, immediately after Nano, and 2 months later. Data were collected in 2008-2009, and analyses were conducted in 2009-2010. Participants consisted of 133 children aged 10-12 years, initially between 50th percentile and 95th percentile BMI. The treatment group played Diab and Nano in sequence. Control Group played diet and physical activity knowledge-based games on popular websites. Participants were given servings of fruit, vegetable, and water; and observed during minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. At each point of assessment: 3 nonconsecutive days of 24-hour dietary recalls; 5 consecutive days of physical activity using accelerometers; and assessment of height, weight, waist circumference, and triceps skin fold. Results were obtained by repeated measures ANCOVA was conducted (analyzed in 2009-2010). Children playing these video games increased fruit and vegetable consumption by about 0.67 servings per day (p<0.018), but not water and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, or body composition. In conclusion, playing Diab and Nano resulted in an increase in fruit and vegetable intake.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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