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Feasibility, design and conduct of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to reduce overweight and obesity in children: The electronic games to aid motivation to exercise (eGAME) study

Ralph Maddison1, Louise Foley1*, Cliona Ni Mhurchu1, Andrew Jull1, Yannan Jiang1, Harry Prapavessis2, Anthony Rodgers3, Stephen Vander Hoorn1, Maea Hohepa4 and David Schaaf5

Author affiliations

1 Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

2 School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 3K7

3 The George Institute for International Health, PO Box M201, Missenden Rd, New South Wales 2050, Australia

4 Sport and Recreation New Zealand, PO Box 2251, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

5 Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, PO Box 97005, South Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland 2240, New Zealand

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2009, 9:146  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-146

Published: 19 May 2009



Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in developed countries. Sedentary screen-based activities such as video gaming are thought to displace active behaviors and are independently associated with obesity. Active video games, where players physically interact with images onscreen, may have utility as a novel intervention to increase physical activity and improve body composition in children. The aim of the Electronic Games to Aid Motivation to Exercise (eGAME) study is to determine the effects of an active video game intervention over 6 months on: body mass index (BMI), percent body fat, waist circumference, cardio-respiratory fitness, and physical activity levels in overweight children.


Three hundred and thirty participants aged 10–14 years will be randomized to receive either an active video game upgrade package or to a control group (no intervention).


An overview of the eGAME study is presented, providing an example of a large, pragmatic randomized controlled trial in a community setting. Reflection is offered on key issues encountered during the course of the study. In particular, investigation into the feasibility of the proposed intervention, as well as robust testing of proposed study procedures is a critical step prior to implementation of a large-scale trial.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000632493