Staiano 2018 - Home-Based Exergaming among Children.pdf

BACKGROUND:

Given children's low levels of physical activity and high prevalence of obesity, there is an urgent need to identify innovative physical activity options.

OBJECTIVE:

This study aims to test the effectiveness of exergaming (video gaming that involves physical activity) to reduce children's adiposity and improve cardiometabolic health.

METHODS:

This randomized controlled trial assigned 46 children with overweight/obesity to a 24-week exergaming or control condition. Intervention participants were provided a gaming console with exergames, a gameplay curriculum (1 h per session, three times a week) and video chat sessions with a fitness coach (telehealth coaching). Control participants were provided the exergames following final clinic visit. The primary outcome was body mass index (BMI) z-score. Secondary outcomes were fat mass by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and cardiometabolic health metrics.

RESULTS:

Half of the participants were girls, and 57% were African-American. Intervention adherence was 94.4%, and children's ratings of acceptability and enjoyment were high. The intervention group significantly reduced BMI z-score excluding one control outlier (intervention [standard error] vs. control [standard error]: -0.06 [0.03] vs. 0.03 [0.03], p = 0.016) with a marginal difference in intent-to-treat analysis (-0.06 [0.03] vs. 0.02 [0.03], p = 0.065). Compared with control, the intervention group improved systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (all p values <0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Exergaming at home elicited high adherence and improved children's BMI z-score, cardiometabolic health and physical activity levels. Exergaming with social support may be promoted as an exercise option for children.