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Promoting Children's Health with Digital Games: A Review of Reviews

Heidi Parisod, Anni Pakarinen, Lotta Kauhanen, Minna Aromaa, Ville Leppänen, Tapani Liukkonen, Jouni Smed, Sanna Salanterä, Promoting Children's Health with Digital Games: A Review of Reviews. Games for Health 3(3), 145–156, 2014.



Effective, evidence-based, and interesting methods are needed for children's health promotion. Digital games can be such a method, but there is need for a summary of the evidence on the effectiveness of digital games in promoting children's health. The aim of this review of reviews was to evaluate the quality of systematic reviews, to summarize the evidence in systematic reviews and reviews related to the effectiveness of digital games in children's health promotion, and to identify gaps in knowledge. A systematic literature search was conducted in May-August 2013 from relevant databases, and 1178 references were found. In total, 15 systematic reviews and reviews met the inclusion criteria. Most of the systematic reviews were found to be medium quality on the AMSTAR checklist. Most commonly, systematic reviews and reviews evaluated active videogames. According to the results, evidence of the highest level and quality seems to support an increase in physical activity to light to moderate levels and energy expenditure, especially when playing active videogames that require both upper and lower body movements. In addition, sedentary games were shown to have potential in children's health education, especially in supporting changes in asthma- and diabetes-related behavior and in dietary habits. However, there are still several gaps in the knowledge. There is a need for further high-quality systematic reviews and research in the field of health games.

BibTeX entry:

  title = {Promoting Children's Health with Digital Games: A Review of Reviews},
  author = {Parisod, Heidi and Pakarinen, Anni and Kauhanen, Lotta and Aromaa, Minna and Leppänen, Ville and Liukkonen, Tapani and Smed, Jouni and Salanterä, Sanna},
  journal = {Games for Health},
  volume = {3},
  number = {3},
  pages = {145–156},
  year = {2014},
  ISSN = {2161-7856},

Belongs to TUCS Research Unit(s): Software Development Laboratory (SwDev)

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