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Acute effects of video-game playing versus television viewing on stress markers and food intake in overweight and obese young men: A randomised controlled trial

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mario Siervo


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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Background Sedentary or near-sedentary activities are associated with overweight/obesity in epidemiological studies. This has traditionally been attributed to physical activity displacement. A little-explored area is whether behavioural stresses alter sensations of appetite and eating behaviour. We examined whether behaviours conducted seated (television viewing, video gaming) induce different eating patterns, associated with differential levels of stress response. Methods and findings We conducted a randomized controlled trial in 72 overweight/obese adult males, assigned to three groups (24 per group): (i) non-violent television (control group); (ii) non-violent game (FIFA); (iii) violent game (Call of Duty). Following a standardized breakfast, the 1-h intervention was followed by 25-min rest, with sweet and savoury snacks and drinks available ad libitum. Stress markers (heart rate, blood pressure, visual analogue scale (VAS)) were measured throughout. Heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and stress by VAS were significantly higher (p < 0.05) playing video games than watching non-violent television, though the two game groups did not differ. Considered separately, only the violent video game group consumed more energy (Δ = 208.3 kcal, 95%CI 16, 400), sweet foods (Δ = 25.9 g, 95%CI 9.9, 41.9) and saturated fat (Δ = 4.36 g, 95%CI 0.76, 7.96) than controls. Conclusion Playing video games in overweight/obese adult males is associated with an acute stress response relative to watching non-violent television, associated with greater subsequent food intake. These findings highlight the need to focus on the metabolic effects, as well as the energy costs, of activities involving sitting in relation to obesity risk.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Siervo M, Gan J, Fewtrell MS, Cortina-Borja M, Wells JCK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Appetite

Year: 2018

Volume: 120

Pages: 100-108

Print publication date: 01/01/2018

Online publication date: 24/08/2017

Acceptance date: 18/08/2017

ISSN (print): 0195-6663

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8304

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.018


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