Using a Wii Active exergame intervention for clinically overweight and obese low-income African American adolescents

Can motion-based games help adolescents lose weight, increase their cognitive skills, and improve their self-esteem? Does how adolescents play these games have an impact on their benefits? A research team from Georgetown University looked at these questions in a seven-month experiment, where obese and overweight urban high school students were assigned to (1) play Wii Active exergames competitively after school with the goal of lowering their body mass index (BMI), (2) play Wii Active exergames cooperatively in a team after school with the goal of helping each other reduce their BMI, or (3) have no access to Wii Active exergames at school (control condition). The study examined physiological, social, and cognitive outcomes of participants in all three groups to determine whether those who played Wii Active exergames were more physically active; lost more weight; had reduced BMI scores; developed more self-esteem; had more friends; and had better memory, attention, and other cognitive skills than those assigned to the control group. The study also examined whether competitive or cooperative game play influenced those outcomes the most.

This project was funded as part of Health Games Research, a national program of the Pioneer Portfolio dedicated to funding and supporting research to advance the effectiveness of interactive games for health.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $138,847.00

Awarded on: 8/26/2009

Time frame: 9/1/2009 - 6/30/2011

Grant Number: 66723


Children's Digital Media Center at Georgetown University

309 White Gravenor Building
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington, 20057-0001


Anisha Abraham
Project Director


Sandra L. Calvert
Project Director