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Evaluation of a Gamified Physical Activity Intervention Targeting School-Children

DOI: 10.4236/ape.2022.123023, PP. 307-319

Keywords: Gamification, Exercise, Intervention, Walking, Cycling

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Abstract:

Background: Beat the Street (BTS) is a walking and cycling game which aims to increase physical activity utilizing gamified interventions in communities. This study measures the impact of a 7-week BTS intervention on physical activity and active travel in Irish school-children. Methods: Seasonally matched,?repeat cross-sectional surveys were collected in 16 intervention schools and 2 control schools at baseline and at follow-up 8 weeks later. Results: The intervention had no impact on physical activity although those that played the game more than once a week were 64% more likely to meet the physical activity guidelines compared with those who played less frequently. Similarly, there was no overall intervention effect detected for active travel to school. Despite this, those who could recall the game without prompting and those that played the game more than once a week were 1.8 (p < 0.05) and 3 times (p < 0.001) more likely to walk or cycle to school, respectively. Conclusions: Gamification can play an important role in increasing physical activity in children. Key recommendations for improving the game are to develop the persuasive architecture of the game and to implement BTS as part of a multicomponent intervention.

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