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Are field-based exergames useful in preventing childhood obesity? A systematic review

Authors

  • Z. Gao,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Kinesiology, The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
    • Address for correspondence: Dr. Z Gao, School of Kinesiology, the University of Minnesota, 220 Cooke Hall, 1900 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

      E-mail: gaoz@umn.edu

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  • S. Chen

    1. Department of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA
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Summary

Exergames have started to find their way into field-based settings, such as schools, communities and homes, as a possible solution to curbing physical inactivity and childhood obesity. However, a clear view of the effects of field-based exergaming on children's obesity-related outcomes is lacking. Hence, a systematic review on this topic is warranted. This review synthesizes the impact of field-based exergames on children's physical and psychosocial outcomes. A total of 34 articles conducted in field-based settings were identified from 104 peer-reviewed publications that investigated the effects of exergames. Upon screening, these articles met the inclusion criteria and a high inter-rater agreement for inclusion was reached between the authors. The effects of field-based exergames on children's habitual physical activity (PA) and obesity-related outcomes (e.g. weight loss, body composition) remain unclear due to design problems, measurement issues and other methodology concerns. In addition, exergame is appealing to children, although strategies are warranted to sustain their interests. In summary, exergames are desirable as a promising addition to promote PA and health. Professionals may integrate exergames at field settings to promote a physically active lifestyle among children with the goal of curbing childhood obesity.

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