How Effective are Active Videogames? Adding Meta-analyses to two Recent Systematic Reviews


  • J. van ’t Riet
  • R. Crutzen


Objective: Two meta-analyses investigated the existing evidence for the effectiveness of active videogames in children/adolescents and in elderly people. Method: Studies were included that investigated the effectiveness of active videogames, employed an experimental design, and used BMI as the outcome measure in the children/adolescents domain (N=5), or physical function in the elderly domain (N=7). Findings: The average effect of active videogames in children and adolescents was small, but significant (r = .10; 95% CI: .02 - .19). For the effect of active videogames on physical function in the elderly, the analyses revealed a medium-sized, but non-significant effect of r = .26 (95% CI: -.33 - .85). Significant heterogeneity was observed, but intervention duration, number of sessions per week, type of control group, usage of an off-the-shelf game, sample size, study quality and dropout did not significantly moderate the effectiveness of active videogames for the elderly. Discussion: The results of these meta-analyses provide preliminary evidence that active videogames can have positive effects on relevant outcome measures in both children and adolescents, and elderly individuals.