Sedentary behaviors, such as leisure time computer use and sedentary video games, are significant barriers to regular physical activity and contribute to high rates of overweight and obesity among adolescents. Sedentary screen time can adversely affect food intake and food selection. Active video games may be a promising way of increasing daily physical activity levels among adolescents. Active video games may help modulate response inhibition and food intake. PURPOSE: Compare the effects of an acute bout of active and sedentary video gaming on N2 amplitudes (while viewing high calorie and low calorie images), Stroop Color Word Test (Stroop test) performance and ad libitum eating. METHODS: We used a within-subjects randomized crossover design with counterbalanced treatment conditions was used among 65 participants (31 girls, 34 boys; age = 13.5 ± 1.1 year; height = 161.4 ± 10.2 cm; weight = 52.5 ± 12.3 kg; BMI = 19.9 ± 3.3 kg·m2). Participants completed 2 separate video gaming sessions, 7 days apart, while energy expenditure during sedentary and active video game play was measured using the K4b2 portable metabolic system. The K4b2 system provided metabolic equivalents (METs) which are used as a measure of energy cost of physical activity. After either 60 minutes of active or sedentary video game play, participants completed a go/no-go task while viewing high calorie and low calorie images while electroencephalogram (EEG) data were collected. N2 event related potential (ERP) amplitudes were measured during the viewing task. Participants also completed a Stroop task to measure response inhibition. Finally, participants were given high calorie and low calorie snacks to consume ad libitum. We used a repeated measures ANOVA was used to measure main and interaction effects for N2 ERP amplitudes within subjects. RESULTS: Active video game play relative to sedentary video games significantly increased METs (F = 543.1, p ≤ 0.0001) from 1.7 ± 0.35 to 5.0 ± 1.2 METs. A significant gender-by-condition interaction (F = 7.03, p ≤ 0.009) was observed for energy expenditure with boys (5.4 ± 1.1 METs) expending more energy during the active video game than girls (4.5 ± 1.1 METs). No significant differences were observed for the N2 component (F = 0.50, p = 0.48) between video game conditions nor between genders (F = 1.85, p = 0.17). There were no significant differences (F = 3.10, p = 0.08) in the total number of calories consumed between the 2 video gaming conditions. Results from the Stroop task showed no significant differences for word naming (F = 0.45, p = 0.49), congruent condition (F = 0.43, p = 0.52) and incongruent condition (F = 0.14, p = 0.71) between the active and sedentary video games. CONCLUSION: Sixty minutes of active video gaming increases energy expenditure to a moderate intensity level but does not alter behavioral response or response inhibition to high calorie or low calorie foods.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences

Date Submitted


Document Type





response inhibition, acute physical activity, N2, go/no-go task