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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 128365, 7 pages
Research Article

Video Game Playing Effects on Obesity in an Adolescent with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study

1University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, Building 37, Pensacola, FL 32514, USA
2University of Florida, College of Nursing, P.O. Box 100187, Gainesville, FL 32610-0187, USA

Received 24 September 2015; Revised 25 November 2015; Accepted 26 November 2015

Academic Editor: Hansen Wang

Copyright © 2015 Brandy E. Strahan and Jennifer H. Elder. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adolescent obesity has tripled in the past two decades, and adolescents with disabilities, specifically autism spectrum disorders (ASD), may be at greater risk for obesity due to the behavioral, physical, and psychosocial complications related to their disorder. This case study reports the effects of video game playing on an obese adolescent with ASD and illustrates the use of a multiple baseline single subject design. Over 12 weeks, the participant played inactive (6 weeks) and active video games (6 weeks) on the Wii console. Physiological data were evaluated weekly at home. Stress and anxiety were measured via the Stress Survey Schedule for Individuals with Autism and Other Pervasive Non-Developmental Disorders (SSS) and the Behavior Assessment System for Children Second Edition (BASC-2) pre- and postintervention. The Therapy Attitude Inventory (TAI) was used to determine parental perception of video game playing as a socially valid intervention to reduce stress and anxiety. Results demonstrated that active video game playing slowed and/or reduced weight and BMI with minimal changes to waist-to-hip ratios, triceps skinfolds, and stress and anxiety. This study demonstrates how alternative methods for physical activity may be used to improve health outcomes of overweight/obese adolescents with ASD and suggests directions for future research.