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Games Health J. 2014 Apr;3(2):72-8. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2014.0018.

Building a Better Mousetrap (Exergame) to Increase Youth Physical Activity.

Author information

1 USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine , Houston, Texas.
2 National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland , Auckland, New Zealand .
3 University of Massachusetts , Worcester, Massachusetts.
4 Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyles, and Disease Prevention, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University , Loma Linda, California.
5 Department of Health Science and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University , Amsterdam, The Netherlands .
6 Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU/VUmc, VU University Medical Center , Amsterdam, The Netherlands .
7 TNO, Expertise Centre Life Style , Leiden, The Netherlands .


Although exergames have been demonstrated to induce moderate levels of physical activity (PA) if played as designed, there is conflicting evidence on use of exergaming leading to increased habitual PA. Exergames have increased PA in some home and school studies, but not others. Exergames have been used in community centers to good effect, but this has not generally been validated with research. PA from exergames may be enhanced by innovative use of sensors, "fun"-enhancing procedures, tailored messaging, message framing, story or narrative, goal setting, feedback, and values-based messaging. Research is needed on PA-enhancing procedures used within exergames for youth to provide a firmer foundation for the design and use of exergames in the future.


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