Examining the Feasibility of Smartphone Game Applications for Physical Activity Promotion in Middle School Students

Kacie C.A. Blackman, Jamie Zoellner, Adil Kadir, Brandon Dockery, Sallie Beth Johnson, Fabio A. Almeida, D. Scott McCrickard, Jennie L. Hill, Wen You, Paul A. Estabrooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility (i.e., limited efficacy testing, practicality, and acceptability) of a 6-week smartphone game-based applications program for promoting physical activity (PA) in adolescents in an afterschool program. Materials and Methods: This mixed-method, quasi-experimental design study included 27 adolescents who evaluated four smartphone PA game-based applications in two Boys & Girls Clubs of America. After an initial baseline week (i.e., usual activity during their visit to the Club), adolescents played each game for 1 week. During a final week, the participants could choose to play any combination of the four games. An established conceptual framework was used to assess feasibility. Efficacy was assessed by changes in PA via wrist-worn accelerometers (model GT3x+; ActiGraph LLC, Pensacola, FL). Practicality was measured through field notes, the number of players attending each session, and the proportion of attendees who played the games. Acceptability was measured using poststudy focus groups. Results: Compared with baseline (3.22 metabolic equivalents [METs]), mean accelerometer values were significantly (P<0.05) higher during "Space Rayders" (4.33 METs) and "Color Hunt" (3.67 METs). Attendance did not differ among games, and weekly number of players averaged 12 of 27 participants. Qualitative findings indicated that participants perceived "Space Rayders" as the most acceptable game. Overall, participants found the games to be enjoyable and easy to use, although they had suggestions to improve graphics and sounds. Conclusions: Smartphone games can be feasible for adolescents to use for PA. Lessons learned will be used to provide improvements for future game development and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-419
Number of pages11
JournalGames for Health Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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