Psychological effects of dance-based group exergaming in obese adolescents


Address for correspondence: Dr TL Wagener, Section of General & Community Pediatrics, Dept. of Pediatrics, OU College of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 1200 Children's Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73117, USA. E-mail:



In order to attract obese adolescents who are often reluctant to engage in traditional exercise, new forms of physical activity are needed.


The purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of dance-based exergaming on a diverse sample of obese adolescents' perceived competence to exercise, psychological adjustment and body mass index (BMI).


A diverse sample of 40 obese adolescents was randomized to either a 10-week group dance-based exergaming programme or a wait-list control condition. Baseline and follow-up measures included adolescent self-reported psychological adjustment and perceived competence to exercise, and maternal report of adolescent psychological adjustment and anthropometric measures.


Compared with controls, participants in the dance-based exergaming condition significantly increased in self-reported perceived competence to exercise regularly and reported significant improvement in relations with parents from baseline to end-of-treatment. Maternal report of adolescent externalizing and internalizing symptomatology also decreased from baseline to end-of-treatment. No pre-post differences in BMI were seen within or between conditions.


Results support the positive impact of dance-based exergaming on obese adolescents' psychological functioning and perceived competence to continue exercise.