"Pokémon Go!" May Promote Walking, Discourage Sedentary Behavior in College Students.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess self-reported walking and sedentary behavior in young adults before and after downloading "Pokémon Go!".

MATERIALS AND METHODS

In September 2016, a sample of 358 (19.8 ± 2.1 years old, n = 187 females) college students who had downloaded "Pokémon Go!" on their cellular telephones (i.e., cell phones) were surveyed for weekly walking and sedentary behavior via the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. A single interview was administered to participants who estimated their walking and sedentary behavior at three time points: the week immediately preceding their download of "Pokémon Go!" (Baseline), the first week after downloading the game (Time 1), and the week the survey was completed (Time 2). Differences in self-reported physical activity and sedentary behavior across the three time points and across the two genders were compared via analyses of variance.

RESULTS

There was a significant main effect of time (F ≥ 49.3, P ≤ 0.001) for walking and sedentary behavior. Participants reported greater (t ≥ 9.5, P < 0.001) daily walking during Time 1 (218.6 ± 156.3 minutes) and Time 2 (182.7 ± 172.1 minutes) versus the baseline (108.5 ± 110.8 minutes). Walking behavior was also significantly greater (t = 4.1, P < 0.001) at Time 1 versus Time 2. Participants reported greater (t ≥ 6.5, P < 0.001) daily sedentary behavior during baseline (346.6 ± 201.3 minutes) versus both Time 1 (261.7 ± 172.4 minutes) and Time 2 (284.3 ± 175.4 minutes). Sedentary behavior was also significantly greater (t = 2.6, P = 0.03) at Time 2 versus Time 1. There were no effects of gender (F ≤ 1.8, P ≥ 0.17).

CONCLUSION

Playing "Pokémon Go!" was associated with increased self-reported walking and decreased sedentary behavior. Such games hold promise as technology that may promote physical activity and discourage sedentary behavior.

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