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Video games and their associations with physical health: a scoping review
  1. Vincent Huard Pelletier1,
  2. Arianne Lessard2,
  3. Florence Piché2,
  4. Charles Tétreau2,
  5. Martin Descarreaux2
  1. 1Department of Anatomy, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivières, Canada
  2. 2Department of Human Kinetics, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivières, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Martin Descarreaux; martin.Descarreaux{at}


Objective The objective of this scoping review is to investigate the possible links between the practice of video games and physical health. It seeks to answer the following question: What are the physical health consequences of playing video games in healthy video game player? and How is it currently investigated?.

Methods A scoping review was conducted to identify observational and experimental studies pertaining to our research question. Retrieved papers were screened using a two-phase method first involving a selection based on titles and abstracts. Then, potentially relevant studies were read and triaged. The final set of included studies was analysed, and data were subsequently extracted. Observational studies and experimental studies were assessed using the appropriate Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool and data were synthetised according to specific physical health and related health behaviours.

Results Twelve peer-reviewed articles were retained for further analyses. Results of this scoping review suggest preliminary evidence that time spent gaming is associated with some health outcomes indicators. Our results indicate preliminary evidence that increased gaming time is associated with higher body mass index and lower self-reported general health status. There is insufficient evidence to conclude on a possible association between gaming time and physical activity or sedentary behaviours, sleep or fatigue, musculoskeletal pain or dietary behaviours.

Conclusion The results of this sopping review suggest an association between increased video game playing time and a deterioration in some physical health indicators but available evidence is scarce, precluding from any strong conclusion.

  • Evidence based review
  • Sleep
  • Physical activity
  • Obesity

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  • Contributors MD and CT designed the study and the search strategy whereas the selection process, extraction and risk of bias analyses were carried out by VHP, AL and FP. VHP and AL wrote the manuscript, while MD and CT directed the project and reviewed all stages of the study including writing the manuscript.

  • Funding The study was funded by the Chaire de recherche internationale en santé neuromusculosquelettique.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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