Gaming, Adiposity, and Obesogenic Behaviors Among Children

Tom Baranowski, 1 Baylor College of Medicine , Houston, Texas; and Editor, Games for Health Journal: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications.
Kristi Adamo, 2 Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada .
Melanie Hingle, 3 University of Arizona , Tucson, Arizona.
Ralph Maddison, 4 University of Auckland , Auckland, New Zealand .
Ann Maloney, 5 University of Massachusetts , Worcester, Massachusetts.
Monique Simons, 6 EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research , VU, Body@Work, Amsterdam, The Netherlands .
Amanda Staiano, 8 Pennington Biomedical Research of the Louisiana State University , Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Videogames in general have been maligned for causing obesity because of their inherent sedentariness, whereas exergames have been both maligned for requiring low levels of activity and extolled for requiring physical activity to move game play along. The intensity and duration of physical activity resulting from exergame play have shown varying results, and they have been explored for use in obesity treatment and prevention, primarily among children. Other videogames have been developed and tested to help children change their diet and physical activity practices with various outcomes. As a field of inquiry, we are in the earliest stages of understanding how, or under what circumstances, videogames can influence all these behavioral and health outcomes. To deal with these complexities, we have assembled a group of investigators who have made important, but diverse, contributions to this research agenda and asked them to address five key child obesity-related issues in a Roundtable format. Brief biosketches are presented at the end of this article.