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Impact of an exergame intervention on habitual physical activity and diet in active young adults

Easton, Chris and Chaplin, Helena and Hedin, Aline and Howe, Christopher C.F. and Zwygart, Kim and Domene, Pablo A. and Knowles, Ann-Marie (2013) Impact of an exergame intervention on habitual physical activity and diet in active young adults. In: American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, 2012-05-29 - 2012-06-02.

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Active video games or “exergames” (EG) may provide an effective method by which to increase physical activity (PA) levels of sedentary individuals although the energy cost is less than the real version of the sport or activities. However, if already active individuals increased their usage of EG, a resultant displacement of time spent engaged in real PA may reduce total PA derived energy expenditure. Of additional concern is the reported increase in energy intake (EI) associated with more frequent use of video games (Chaput et al., 2011. Am J Clin Nutr 93: 1196–1203). To date, no study has examined the impact of an EG intervention in already active young adults. To determine the effects of a short-term EG intervention on habitual PA and EI in active young adults. Twenty active young adults (10 males; age 21 ± 4 yrs; body mass 65.2 ± 5.9 kg) who did not regularly use EG each underwent two 5 day monitoring periods conducted in a randomised cross-over design. In one period each participant was required to complete 60 min∙day-1 of structured EG activity using a Microsoft X-box 360 Kinect and in the other they were instructed to maintain their normal PA level and diet (control). EI and PA were assessed daily during both monitoring periods using a food diary and an Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometer respectively. Time spent in each PA intensity classification was established using device software and habitual PA during the EG period was calculated by removing time spent in the EG session from the data set. Mean daily EI, PA, and habitual PA were compared between conditions using a paired t-test. EI was not different between control and EG conditions (2234 ± 278 kcal∙day-1 vs. 2193 ± 323 kcal∙day-1 respectively; P=0.22). Less time was spent engaged in sedentary behaviour during the EG period compared to the control period (391 ± 126 min∙day-1 vs. 463 ± 125 min∙day-1 respectively; P<0.001) and more time was spent engaged in moderate-vigorous PA (132 ± 36 min∙day-1 vs. 92 ± 30 min∙day-1 respectively; P<0.001). Habitual moderate-vigorous PA during the EG period (100 ± 34 min∙day-1) was not different to the control period (P=0.26). Daily use of EG augmented moderate-vigorous PA and reduced sedentary behaviour with no impact on EI in active young adults. EG therefore remains a viable option to increase PA in this population.