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Cindy H.P. Sit, Jessica W.K. Lam and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Interactive electronic games have recently been popularized and are believed to help promote children’s physical activity (PA). The purpose of the study was to examine preferences and PA levels during interactive and online electronic games among overweight and nonoverweight boys and girls.

Methods:

Using a modification of the SOFIT, we systematically observed 70 Hong Kong Chinese children (35 boys, 35 girls; 50 nonoverweight, 20 overweight), age 9 to 12 years, during 2 60-minute recreation sessions and recorded their game mode choices and PA levels. During Session One children could play either an interactive or an online electronic bowling game and during Session Two they could play an interactive or an online electronic running game.

Results:

Children chose to play the games during 94% of session time and split this time between interactive (52%) and online (48%) versions. They engaged in significantly more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during interactive games than their online electronic versions (70% vs. 2% of game time). Boys and nonoverweight children expended relatively more energy during the interactive games than girls and overweight children, respectively.

Conclusions:

New-generation interactive games can facilitate physical activity in children, and given the opportunity children may select them over sedentary versions.

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Bob Chen, W.K. Lam, Damon Mok, Frankie Yeung and Joe Hung

Edited by R. Barry Dale