European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 178, Issue 10, pp 1567–1576 | Cite as

A digital movement in the world of inactive children: favourable outcomes of playing active video games in a pilot randomized trial

  • Dilsad Coknaz
  • Ayse Dilsad Mirzeoglu
  • Halil Ibrahim AtasoyEmail author
  • Seval Alkoy
  • Hakki Coknaz
  • Kemal Goral
Original Article


This parallel randomized controlled trial was aimed to evaluate whether parameters as physical fitness, reaction times, self-perception and enjoyment levels, as well as parental and children perspectives, were affected by active video games in inactive and technologically preoccupied children. Data were collected in a laboratory setting from four randomly selected urban public schools. All 1300 children in grades 3–6 were surveyed for the study. Among the 918 responders, 106 children were determined to be inactive and preoccupied with technology. Children in 3 schools (n = 53) allocated to active video game and in one school (n = 53) allocated to control group were compared by univariate covariance analyses for primary outcomes such as weight, body mass index and fat ratios at the end of 12 weeks. Active video game group significantly showed favourable responses for weight, body mass index and corresponding z scores as well as reaction times and self-perception controlling for age and baseline scores. In addition, enjoyment of the children in the game group by qualitative analysis was high indicating a motivational aspect for the continuation of the games. Diverse contributions of games to physical, social, intellectual and personal development were revealed.

Conclusion: Active video games by promoting enjoyment levels and physical activity, as well as contributing to agility, alertness, socializing, and striving, led to a reduction in weight gain. They may be used as beneficial tools diverting children from inactivity and subsequent obesity.

Trial registration: This study called AVGAME is registered with the number NCT03720938 in The trial protocol can also be retrieved from the archives of Abant Izzet Baysal University.

What is Known:

• Nowadays, children prefer sedentary video games that are known to induce weight gain and obesity-related comorbidities.

• Active video games were shown to decrease weight in overweight and obese children.

What is New:

• Active video games decrease weight increment and reaction times, thus could be used to prevent obesity in inactive non-obese children.

• Active video games raise self-esteem, induce enjoyment, improve the personal and intellectual development of children in addition to socializing and is a safe alternative to indoor sedentary video games


Inactive children Active video games Physical fitness Self-perception Enjoyment Obesity 



Active video games


Basal metabolic rate




Children and youth physical self-perception scale


Daily energy consumption


Fundamental movement skill


Fat ratio


Global self-worth


Physical activity


Physical activity enjoyment scale-short form


Physical fitness


Physical self-worth


Randomized controlled trial


Reaction time


Socioeconomic status




Skinfold thickness


Sedentary video games



This study was supported by Research Foundation of Abant Izzet Baysal University by grant number 2012.16.02.545.

Authors’ contributions

D.C., A.D.M. and H.C. contributed to the conception and design of this study; H.I.A., A.D.M., S.A. and D.C. performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript; S.A., H.C. and K.G. critically reviewed the manuscript and supervised the whole study process. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


The work was supported by the Research Foundation of Abant Izzet Baysal University by grant number 2012.16.02.545. Research Foundation had no influence either on the protocol or on the results.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was authorized by the local ethics committee for human research (protocol number 2012/15). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

All the parents received and signed the forms together with all children gave their oral assents prior to randomization in this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Sports SciencesAbant Izzet Baysal UniversityGolkoyTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Sports SciencesSakarya UniversitySerdivanTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of MedicineAbant Izzet Baysal UniversityGolkoyTurkey
  4. 4.Department of Public Health, Faculty of MedicineAbant Izzet Baysal UniversityGolkoyTurkey
  5. 5.Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Sports SciencesDuzce UniversityKonuralpTurkey
  6. 6.Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Sports SciencesSitki Kocman UniversityKotekliTurkey

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