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Comment & Response
July 2013

Are Active Video Games Useful in Increasing Physical Activity and Addressing Obesity in Children?

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Public Health, Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(7):676-677. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2418

To the Editor A recent article1 in this journal examined the energy expenditure of active video games (AVGs). It provided a rationale for AVGs, which are thought to increase adolescents’ physical activity and contribute to obesity prevention. This small study (N = 18 adolescents aged 11-15 years) examined the energy expenditure of 2 AVGs. One AVG reached “moderate intensity” and another, only light intensity levels of energy expenditure, but both demonstrated greater energy expended than playing a sedentary video game. This study repeats the findings of many similar studies2 and now reviews and meta-analyses3 over the last few years demonstrating a short-term increase in energy expenditure. However, from a public health perspective, is this kind of AVG intervention really likely to produce population-level improvements in the established risks of inactivity and obesity among adolescents?