Getting active with active video games: A quasi-experimental study

Yan Liang, Patrick W C Lau*, Yannan Jiang, Ralph Maddison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Given the cultural emphasis on academic achievement and environmental constraints to physical activity (PA), active video games (AVGs) may be used to decrease sedentary behavior and increase PA of Hong Kong children. This study explored the potential of a school-based AVG intervention on sedentary time, PA, body composition, and psychosocial factors among children. Eighty-seven children (intervention n = 30) were recruited from one primary school. Classes in Grades 4–6 were allocated to either the intervention group or the control group in a 2:1 ratio. The eight-week intervention involved children playing AVGs in an after-school class twice a week. Participants in the control group continued with their usual activities. Outcome included the change of participants in sedentary time, PA, percentage body fat, body mass index (BMI), and psychosocial variables (enjoyment, self-efficacy and social support), from baseline to eight weeks. No significant group differences were observed in sedentary time (−33.9 min/day, 95% CI −70.8 to 4.8; p = 0.07). The intervention group significantly increased total PA (53.7 counts/min, 95% CI 8.6 to 104.2; p = 0.04) compared with those in the control condition. No differences were found in body composition and psychosocial variables. However, significant treatment effects were found on BMI z score among boys (−0.1, 95% CI −0.2 to 0; p = 0.04). An eight-week school-based AVG intervention delivered during after-school hours was effective in increasing activity levels among Hong Kong children. The treatment effects of AVGs on sedentary behavior and body composition need to be further demonstrated in a more robust study, especially in boys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7984
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Accelerometer
  • Active video game
  • After-school time
  • Children
  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary time


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