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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2014, Article ID 287013, 5 pages
Research Article

Measuring Physical Inactivity: Do Current Measures Provide an Accurate View of “Sedentary” Video Game Time?

1Population Research and Outcome Studies, Department of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Level 3, 122 Frome Street, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
2Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

Received 17 February 2014; Accepted 22 May 2014; Published 4 June 2014

Academic Editor: Jordi Salas-Salvadó

Copyright © 2014 Simon Fullerton et al. 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.


Background. Measures of screen time are often used to assess sedentary behaviour. Participation in activity-based video games (exergames) can contribute to estimates of screen time, as current practices of measuring it do not consider the growing evidence that playing exergames can provide light to moderate levels of physical activity. This study aimed to determine what proportion of time spent playing video games was actually spent playing exergames. Methods. Data were collected via a cross-sectional telephone survey in South Australia. Participants aged 18 years and above ( ) were asked about their video game habits, as well as demographic and socioeconomic factors. In cases where children were in the household, the video game habits of a randomly selected child were also questioned. Results. Overall, 31.3% of adults and 79.9% of children spend at least some time playing video games. Of these, 24.1% of adults and 42.1% of children play exergames, with these types of games accounting for a third of all time that adults spend playing video games and nearly 20% of children’s video game time. Conclusions. A substantial proportion of time that would usually be classified as “sedentary” may actually be spent participating in light to moderate physical activity.