Less than 15% of children and adolescents participate regularly in physical activity (PA) and, with ever-increasing obesity, strategies to improve PA levels in youth are urgently needed. Exergaming offers a PA alternative that may be especially attractive in our increasingly technophilic society. However, there are no observational studies of exergaming in population-based samples of adolescents. The purpose of this study was to investigate potential sociodemographic, lifestyle, psychosocial, weight-related, and mental health correlates of exergaming as well as describe the type, timing, and intensity of exergaming in a population-based sample of adolescents.
Data on exergame use and potential sociodemographic, lifestyle, psychosocial, weight-related, and mental health correlates of exergaming were collected in mailed self-report questionnaires completed by 1241 grade 10 and 11 students from the Montreal area with a mean age of 16.8 years (SD = 0.05 years; 43% male) participating in the AdoQuest study. The independent correlates of exergaming were identified in multivariable logistic regression models.
Nearly one-quarter (24%) of participants reported exergaming. Exergamers played 2 days per week on average, for ∼50 minutes each bout; 73% of exergamers played at a moderate or vigorous intensity. Exergamers were more likely than nonexergamers to be girls, to play nonactive video games, to watch ≥2 hours of television per day, to be stressed about weight, and to be nonsmokers.
Many adolescents exergame at intensity levels that could help them achieve current moderate-to-vigorous PA recommendations. Interventions that encourage exergaming may increase PA and decrease sedentary behavior in select youth subgroups, notably in girls.