Comparative Effectiveness of a 12-Week Physical Activity Intervention for Overweight and Obese Youth: Exergaming with "Dance Dance Revolution".

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Publication Date


Journal Title

Games Health J

MeSH Headings

Adolescent, Humans, Dancing, Overweight, Obesity, Exercise


OBJECTIVE: Experts recommend that children engage in 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous PA (PA), but few meet these goals. Exergames like "Dance Dance Revolution" (DDR) (Konami of America, Redwood City, CA) have the potential to provide PA. We sought to determine if DDR would boost PA among overweight or obese children.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Children over the 85th percentile for body mass index (BMI) and between 9 and 17 years old were randomly assigned to receive DDR+pedometers (treatment group) or pedometers only (comparison group). PA levels were tracked for 12 weeks by self-report, pedometer, and accelerometer data.

RESULTS: Sixty-five families completed the study. The average BMI percentile of the participant was over 96 percent. Despite randomization, participants in the treatment (DDR) group were more often male, older, and heavier than participants in the comparison group. Self-reported frequency of moderate to vigorous PA increased significantly from baseline to 12 weeks for the treatment group and declined for the comparison group. Accelerometer results indicated a significant decline in moderate activity over time for the comparison group. However, there were no significant between-group differences based on the accelerometer or pedometer data.

CONCLUSION: Based on self-report measures, DDR may have increased PA levels in obese and overweight children. However, we are led to question the validity of these results because analyses based on objective measures do not confirm them. Accelerometer results indicate that although DDR did not boost PA, it may have helped to slow the decline in moderate to vigorous PA over time.



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