The Straits Times
Published on Oct 03, 2012

Thinner avatars give overweight kids the push to exercise


An obese child who sees a thinner virtual version of himself running after a football on a Wii screen is more likely to want to exercise than if he were to use an overweight character.

That was what a team of researchers from Nanyang Technological University found when they studied the effects of certain types of video games on children's attitudes towards exercise.

Part of their research zoomed in on the use of avatars - digital personas - by overweight children when they played physically active games on motion-sensing devices like Wii and Kinect.

Among the 140 children studied, those who used avatars with "normal body size" had better attitudes and were more motivated to exercise than those using larger- sized avatars.