2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
R. Scott Elliott
Weight gain among college students, often perceived as the "Freshman Fifteen", is a common occurrence. Lack of exercise, poor diet habits, and an increase in sedentary activity, such as "screen time", are frequently cited reasons for weight gain. As the popularity of video games has increased, several studies in the past 5 years have investigated the effects of exergaming (exercise gaming) on sedentary children, most finding positive results in overall health.
The objectives of this study were to examine exergaming as a form of physical activity for college students, whether males or females are more likely to exergame, and if exergaming leads to a change in traditional physical activity.
Exergaming in college students was evaluated in 154 undergraduate students, 71 males and 83 females, at the University of Kentucky (age 20.99 ± 2.10 yrs). A brief survey was completed asking students about their knowledge of exergaming, if they use exergaming as a form of physical activity, if they would they consider using exergaming as a form of physical activity, and the amount of traditional physical activity performed.
Of the 154 students surveyed only 12.9% had used exergaming as a form of physical activity. This is compared with 78.5% of students who reported participating in some form of traditional physical activity. Only 10.3% of students used both exergaming and traditional exercise as forms of physical activity. The average body mass index (BMI) of students was 24.2 ± 3.4 kg/m2. While exergaming usage is relatively low among college students 70.1% of students surveyed said they would consider using exergaming as a form of physical activity.
ConclusionThe data does not support the fact that exergaming is a primary means of exercise among colleges students. While exergaming is used as a form of physical activity among few students many indicated that they would be interested in using exergaming as a form of physical activity