Research Study Abstract

Contribution of Active Video Game Play to Daily Physical Activity among College Students

  • Presented on May 31, 2013

National surveys indicate less than half of college-age students meet physical activity (PA) guidelines (ACHA, 2009). Additionally, 65% of college students are active video game (AVG) players (Jones, 2003). AVGs incorporate PA into game play and could be used to increase PA. A key step in establishing their efficacy as an intervention tool is to quantify the contribution that playing AVGs makes to daily PA.

Purpose The purposes of this study were to: 1) examine the contribution that playing an AVG made to college students’ total PA levels, and 2) compare levels of sedentary activity (SED), light physical activity (LPA), and moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on days when students did and did not play AVGs.

Methods Thirty-eight college students who were experienced video game players participated. Height and weight were assessed by trained assistants according to standardized procedures. PA was assessed using ActiGraph GT3X monitors for a oneweek time period during which AVGs were played. In order to be included in analyses, participants must have worn the monitor for at least eight hours on three weekdays and one weekend day. T-tests were used to examine PA differences between game days and non-game days

Results Participants engaged in 552.5 (sd= 11.0) minutes/day of SED, 200.5 (12.6) of LPA, and 43.8 (3.4) of MVPA. Game play contributed an average of 6.7% (sd= 0.5) to daily LPA and 3.6% (0.8) to daily MVPA on game days, and 6.7% (0.5) to daily LPA and 4.9% (1.2) to daily MVPA for all week days. There were no significant differences between game day and non-game day SED (67.6 ± 1.5 vs. 69.3 ± 1.4%, respectively), LPA (25.7 ± 1.9 vs. 24.8 ± 1.6%) and MVPA (6.7 ± 0.7 vs. 5.9 ± 0.7%).

Conclusion AVGs contributed small amounts of LPA and MVPA to participants’ total daily PA. Favorable but non-significant differences in PA were observed on game days compared to non-game days. Among a less active population, AVGs may generate important changes in PA and SED; further research is required to examine this. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


  • Catherine Gammon
  • Karin A. Pfeiffer, FACSM
  • Wei Peng
  • Brian Winn
  • Darijan Suton
  • Adam Smith


  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Presented at

ACSM 2013 Annual Meeting