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Games Health J. 2018 Apr;7(2):143-150. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2017.0103. Epub 2018 Feb 6.

Photorealistic Avatar and Teen Physical Activity: Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy.

Author information

1
1 USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine , Houston, Texas.
2
2 Department of Medicine-Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Baylor College of Medicine , Houston, Texas.
3
3 Department of Computer Science, University of Houston , Houston, Texas.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Exergames played with a photorealistic avatar may enhance motivation to play, in addition to frequency, duration, and intensity of game-play. This article reports the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an exergame played with a photorealistic avatar on physical activity (PA) intensity in a laboratory-based study.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Teens (12-14 years old) were recruited from a large, metropolitan area of the southwestern United States. Parents provided written informed consent. Teens completed online data collection, played an exergame with a photorealistic avatar in an observed laboratory setting, and then participated in postassessment data collection that included online questionnaires and a telephone interview.

RESULTS:

The program was feasible: 42 out of 48 teens recruited (87.5%) completed all data collection activities; game enjoyment was 21.9 ± 8.4 out of possible score of 32; immersion, 49.7 ± 15.6 out of a possible score of 88; avatar identification, 43.9 ± 16.5 out of a possible score of 68; and program satisfaction, 15.6 ± 3.6 out of possible score of 20. Objectively assessed PA indicated that 15.88 minutes of the laboratory-based gameplay session (74.9% of total time) was in vigorous PA; small effect sizes were observed in autonomy (ES = 0.45; P = 0.01) and competence (ES = 0.36; P = 0.03). Little change was observed in relatedness (ES = 0.04; P = 0.82) Qualitative data confirmed participants enjoyed playing the game with a photorealistic avatar and provided suggestions to enhance the gameplay experience.

CONCLUSION:

Playing an exergame with a photorealistic avatar holds promise as a method for increasing PA among youth. Additional research is needed to further explore its effects on gameplay frequency, intensity, and duration in nonlaboratory setting.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Avatar; Exergame; Feasibility; Physical activity; Preliminary efficacy

PMID:
29406774
PMCID:
PMC5905941
[Available on 2019-04-01]
DOI:
10.1089/g4h.2017.0103
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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