Send to

Choose Destination
Games Health J. 2016 Oct;5(5):342-356. Epub 2016 Sep 28.

Development of A Teen-Focused Exergame.

Author information

1 Department of Pediatrics, USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center , Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
2 Department of Computer Science, University of Houston , Houston, Texas.



Exergames require body movement to play and may be an effective method for enhancing teen physical activity (PA). However, results have been mixed. Innovative methods are needed to develop Exergames that increase and maintain PA. Self-representational avatars, or avatars created from a digital image of an individual, may increase PA (e.g., intensity, duration) during Exergame play. This article addresses this novel idea by describing the development of an Exergame played with a self-representational avatar.


Twelve- to 14-year-olds, stratified by gender, body mass index, and PA, were invited to participate in two rounds of data collection. Each round consisted of an online survey, followed by a telephone interview to ensure comprehension of survey responses. After the first round, an Exergame prototype and the system for creating the self-representational avatar were created. A second round of data was collected to obtain information with which to create a fully functional Exergame and the avatar creation system.


Forty-eight teens were recruited. The sample was multi-ethnic (41.7% White, 37.5% Black, 18.8% Hispanic, 2.1% Mixed/Other). Complete data were obtained on 48 teens in the first round of data collection and on 43 teens in the second round. Teens provided important information regarding preferences and expectations. Gender similarities and differences were observed.


This research contributes to the body of knowledge regarding how to design an appealing Exergame for teens navigated by a self-representational avatar.


Adolescents; Avatars; Exergame; Physical activity; Self Determination Theory; Virtual world

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center