Article

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 124-131

First online:

Choice of interactive dance and bicycle games in overweight and nonoverweight youth

  • Leonard H. EpsteinAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University at Buffalo Email author 
  • , Meghan D. BeecherAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University at Buffalo
  • , Jennifer L. GrafAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University at Buffalo
  • , James N. RoemmichAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University at Buffalo

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Abstract

Background: Interactive video games are a popular alternative to physical activity in youth. One advancement in computer games are interactive games that use physical activity as a game playing controller, combining exercise and entertainment, or exertainment.Purpose: This study tested the reinforcing value and activity levels of interactive dance and bicycle race games in 18 overweight and 17 non-overweight 8- to 12-year-old youth.Methods: Reinforcing value was studied using a behavioral choice paradigm that provided children the opportunity to respond on progressive ratio schedules of reinforcement for a choice of either playing the video dance or bicycle game using a handheld video game controller or one of three options: dancing or bicycling alone, dancing or bicycling while watching a video, or playing the interactive dance or bicycle game. Reinforcing value was defined in relationship to the amount of responding children engaged in for either choice.Results: Results showed the interactive dance game was more reinforcing than dancing alone or dancing while watching the video (p=.003), but there was no difference across bicycling conditions. Nonoverweight youth were more active when given the opportunity to play the interactive dance game than overweight children (p=.05).Conclusions: These results suggest that children may be motivated to be active when given the opportunity to play an interactive dance game.