Electronic Gaming Characteristics Associated with Class 3 Severe Obesity in Youth Who Attend the Pediatric Weight Management Programs of the COMPASS Network (2018)

Child Obes. 2018 Sep 29. doi: 10.1089/chi.2018.0156.

Phan TT1, Tucker JM2, Siegel R3, Christison AL4, Stratbucker W2, Werk LN5, Hossain J1, Datto G1, Gentile DA6, Stubblefield S1.



The prevalence of severe obesity and electronic game use among youth has increased over time.


We administered a survey assessing gaming and psycho-demographic characteristics to youth aged 11-17 attending five weight management programs. We conducted chi-square and logistic regression analyses to describe the association between class 3 severe obesity and gaming characteristics.


Four hundred twelve youth (51% female, 26% Black, 25% Hispanic, 43% White, and 44% with class 3 severe obesity) completed the survey. There was a stepwise relationship between time spent gaming and class 3 severe obesity, with 28% of those playing 2 to <4 hours a day, 48% of those playing 4 to <6 hours a day, and 56% of those playing ≥6 hours a day having class 3 severe obesity (p = 0.002). Compared to youth without class 3 severe obesity, youth with class 3 severe obesity were more likely to have a TV in the bedroom (76% vs. 63%, p = 0.004) and play games on a console (39% vs. 27%, p = 0.03) and were less likely to report parental limit setting on type of games played (7% vs. 16%, p = 0.006). Youth who played games ≥4 hours a day were 1.94 times (95% confidence interval 1.27-3.00) more likely to have class 3 severe obesity than those who played <4 hours a day, after adjustment for demographic, behavioral, and academic variables.


Our study demonstrates a clear association between gaming characteristics, especially time spent gaming, and severe obesity in youth. Further research testing family-based interventions that target gaming behaviors in youth are needed.

KEYWORDS: parenting; pediatric obesity; screen time; sedentary behavior; severe obesity; video game

PMID: 30272488

DOI: 10.1089/chi.2018.0156