How effective are active videogames among the young and the old? Adding meta-analyses to two recent systematic reviews
SourceGames for Health Journal, 3, 5, (2014), pp. 311-318
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI CW
Games for Health Journal
SubjectCommunication and Media
Objective: Two recent systematic reviews have surveyed the existing evidence for the effectiveness of active videogames in children/adolescents and in elderly people. In the present study, effect sizes were added to these systematic reviews, and meta-analyses were performed. Materials and Methods: All reviewed studies were considered for inclusion in the meta-analyses, but only studies were included that investigated the effectiveness of active videogames, used an experimental design, and used actual health outcomes as the outcome measures (body mass index for children/adolescents [k=5] and functional balance for the elderly [k=6]). Results: The average effect of active videogames in children and adolescents was small and nonsignificant: Hedges' g=0.20 (95 percent confidence interval, −0.08 to 0.48). Limited heterogeneity was observed, and no moderator analyses were performed. For the effect of active videogames on functional balance in the elderly, the analyses revealed a medium-sized and significant effect of g=0.68 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.13–1.24). For the elderly studies, substantial heterogeneity was observed. Moderator analyses showed that there were no significant effects of using a no-treatment control group versus an alternative treatment control group or of using games that were especially created for health-promotion purposes versus off-the-shelf games. Also, intervention duration and frequency, sample size, study quality, and dropout did not significantly moderate the effect of active videogames. Conclusions: The results of these meta-analyses provide preliminary evidence that active videogames can have positive effects on relevant outcome measures in children/adolescents and elderly individuals.
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