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J Med Internet Res. 2016 Oct 14;18(10):e272.

The Narrative Impact of Active Video Games on Physical Activity Among Children: A Feasibility Study.

Author information

1
College of Arts, Media & Design, Department of Communication Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, United States. a.lu@northeastern.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Active video games (AVGs) capable of inducing physical activity offer an innovative approach to combating childhood obesity. Unfortunately, children's AVG game play decreases quickly, underscoring the need to identify novel methods for player engagement. Narratives have been demonstrated to influence behaviors.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that a narrative would motivate increased AVG play, though a feasibility study that investigated the motivational effect of adding a previously developed narrative cutscene to an originally nonnarrative AVG, Nintendo Wii Sports Resort: Swordplay Showdown.

METHODS:

A total of 40 overweight and obese 8- to 11-year-olds equally divided by sex played the AVG. Half (n=20) were randomly assigned to a narrative group that watched the narrative cutscene before game play. The other half played the game without watching it.

RESULTS:

Children in the narrative group had significantly (P<.05) more steps per 10-second period (mean 3.2, SD 0.7) and overall (mean 523, SD 203) during game play compared with the nonnarrative group (10-second period: mean 2.7, SD 0.7; overall: mean 366, SD 172).

CONCLUSIONS:

The AVG with narrative induced increased physical activity. Additional research is needed to understand the mechanisms through which narrative increases physical activity during AVG game play.

KEYWORDS:

behavior; child health; child obesity; motivation; narration; video games

PMID:
27742605
PMCID:
PMC5086024
DOI:
10.2196/jmir.6538
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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