Playing Pokémon Go May Help People Reach 10,000 Daily Steps Goal

A study conducted by Hanzhang Xu and colleagues was posted on March 8th, 2017 which concluded that playing games like Pokémon Go help encourage exercise and help people reach the recommended daily number of steps walked.

Abstract Content - Does Pokemon Go Help Players be More Active? An Evaluation of Pokemon Go and Physical Activity

Objective: Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game for mobile devices. Leveraging GPS and camera on the smartphone, Pokémon Go requires the player to travel around an area capturing animated creatures. This study aimed to evaluate physical activity associated with Pokémon Go.

Methods: We recruited 167 iPhone users who had played Pokémon Go in July 2016. Study participants provided screenshots of their daily “steps” reported on their iPhone Health app between June 15, 2016 and July 31, 2016. The primary outcome measures were average daily “steps” and % of days > 10,000 steps/day before and after playing Pokémon Go.

Results: Of 167 volunteers, the mean age were 26±6 years. The average daily steps was 5678±2833 (median 5718 [IQR 3675-7279]) before the participants played Pokémon Go and this number increased to 7654± 3616 (median 7232 IQR [5041-9744]) after they started playing the game. On average, we observed an increase of 1976 (95% CI 1494-2458, p<0.001) in daily steps (Figure). Additionally, participants were more likely to achieve 10,000 steps/day goal after playing Pokémon Go (15.3% before vs. 27.5% after; OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.70-2.50). Results from subgroup analyses also showed significant increased level of physical activity after Pokémon Go. Participants who spent more time playing (2-2.5 hours/day 2861 more steps, 95% CI 1884-3837; >2.5 hours/day 2238 more steps, 95% CI 1008-3467), overweight/obese (3031 more steps, 95% CI 2132-3929), or with a lower baseline physical activity level (lowest quartile, 2,899 more steps, 95% CI 2030-3767) had the largest increase after the initiation of the game.


Conclusion: We observed a significant increase in physical activity associated with Pokémon Go. Games like Pokémon Go may provide an alternative way to encourage exercise, especially among young adults with low baseline physical activity levels and/or overweight/obesity.

Author Block: Hanzhang Xu, Duke Univ Sch of Nursing, Durham, NC; Ying Xian, Haolin Xu, Li Liang, Adrian F Hernandez, Duke Clinical Res Inst, Durham, NC; Tracy Y. Wang, Duke Univ Sch of Nursing, Durham, NC; Eric D Peterson, Duke Clinical Res Inst, Durham, NC

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