Effects of Active Videogames on Physical Activity and Related Outcomes among Healthy Children: A Systematic Review

Yan Liang, Patrick W.C. Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: This review systematically evaluated the effects of active videogames (AVGs) on physical activity (PA) and related outcomes in healthy children. Materials and Methods: Electronic databases were searched to retrieve articles published from January 2000 through August 2013. Included were original studies published in English, in peer-reviewed journals, that included at least one subgroup of healthy participants not older than 18 years, and that measured at least one PA-related cognitive, psychosocial, or behavioral outcome. All study designs were included, but only intervention studies with PA comparison between groups or across time were assessed for methodological quality. Evidence strength for intervention studies was stratified by settings (including the free-living home setting, the school, community, or primary care setting with structured AVG sessions [i.e., AVG play of participants was organized by teachers or researchers], and multiple settings). Results: Fifty-four articles were identified, including 32 studies that examined the immediate PA effects (i.e., energy expenditure and PA levels during AVG play), one survey study, and 21 intervention studies aimed to promote PA. AVGs led to light- to moderate-intensity PA among studies of immediate PA outcomes. No effect was identified of AVGs on PA in the home setting. Moderate evidence was found that structured AVG play could improve PA. Inconclusive evidence was found for the effect of AVGs on PA in multiple settings. Conclusions: The present review does not support using AVGs alone in the home setting to promote PA. Structured AVG play has the potential to promote PA in children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)122-144
    Number of pages23
    JournalGames for health journal
    Issue number3
    Early online date21 May 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Rehabilitation
    • Computer Science Applications
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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