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Title: Exergaming: Hope for future physical activity? or blight on mankind?

item BARANOWSKI, TOM - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Journal of Sport and Health Science
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2016
Publication Date: 11/23/2016
Citation: Baranowski, T. 2016. Exergaming: Hope for future physical activity? or blight on mankind?. Journal of Sport and Health Science. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2016.11.006.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Higher levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity, and maybe even light physical activity, have been related to better health, motor skills, and cognitive outcomes in virtually all age and ability groups. However, most people in general are not prone to enjoy and participate in substantial amounts of physical activity (PA) and it has been challenging to find ways to increase the numbers of minutes of PA per day high enough to achieve the aforementioned benefits. Serious games, that is games designed to achieve an outcome in addition to entertainment, have been developed to enhance health outcomes and been demonstrated to yield broad positive effects. Exergames are a genre of serious games, and games for health, but the method of game play requires body movement to move the game forward, thereby increasing levels of PA. Some have argued that given the high appeal of gaming in general, exergames hold the promise of being even more effective than other PA promoting programs in initiating and maintaining PA. Other scholars, however, have concluded that exergames are a blight on humanity because they may not provide higher levels of PA intensity and may displace naturally occurring outside sports and PA. Five papers in this special issue address these concerns. In summary, while in their current form exergames may not be the salvation for promoting PA that some may have hoped, recent studies suggest exergames do have potentially impactful ways to increase PA. More research is needed soon to design more appealing and longer lasting programs.