Background: Exergaming is potentially useful to promote physical activity in children; however, long-term effectiveness is unclear. MobileKids Monster Manor (MKMM) is a mobile exergame developed with the help of young advisors. The game wirelessly transmits physical activity data from an accelerometer to a mobile device. Players’ steps are redeemed for in-game rewards, for example, new characters. Objective: First, to evaluate whether increased physical activity previously observed in a 1-week intervention is sustained over a 2-week intervention and 1-week follow-up, and second, to compare impact in schools within different socioeconomic environments. Methods: Thirty-seven elementary school students participated in a 4-week randomized controlled study (1- week baseline; 2-week intervention [with only the Game group receiving MKMM]; and 1-week follow-up). All participants wore a Tractivity accelerometer throughout. Linear mixed models were applied to assess sustainability; a second 42-children-based dataset and age-/sex-adjusted linear regression models were used to compare effect across socioeconomic environments. Results: In the first week of intervention, the Game group compared to the Control group showed a greater increase in physical activity (of 1,758 steps/day [95% confidence interval, CI = 133–3,385] and 31 active minutes/ day [95% CI = 4–59]), relative to baseline (13,986 steps/day; 231 active minutes/day). However, this was not sustained in the second intervention week or follow-up. The school within a lower socioeconomic status environment showed lower baseline activity and the 1-week intervention resulted in a greater increase relative to baseline (3,633 steps/day more [95% CI = 1,281–5,985]). Conclusion: MKMM could be a useful short-term physical activity promotion tool; however, effectiveness may decrease as novelty diminishes.
Garde, A., Chowdhury, M., Rollinson, A. U., Johnson, M., Prescod, P., Chanoine, J. P., ... Dumont, G. A. (2018). A Multi-Week Assessment of a Mobile Exergame Intervention in an Elementary School. Games for health, 7(1), 43-50. https://doi.org/10.1089/g4h.2017.0023