Acute effects of violent video-game playing on blood pressure and appetite perception in normal-weight young men: a randomized controlled trial

Abstract

Watching television and playing video game being seated represent sedentary behaviours and increase the risk of weight gain and hypertension. We investigated the acute effects of violent and non-violent video-game playing on blood pressure (BP), appetite perception and food preferences. Forty-eight young, normal-weight men (age: 23.1±1.9 years; body mass index: 22.5±1.9 kg/m2) participated in a three-arm, randomized trial. Subjects played a violent video game, a competitive, non-violent video game or watched TV for 1 h. Measurements of BP, stress and appetite perception were recorded before a standardized meal (∼300 kcal) and then repeated every 15 min throughout the intervention. Violent video-game playing was associated with a significant increase in diastolic BP (Δ±s.d.=+7.5±5.8 mm Hg; P=0.04) compared with the other two groups. Subjects playing violent video games felt less full (P=0.02) and reported a tendency towards sweet food consumption. Video games involving violence appear to be associated with significant effects on BP and appetite perceptions compared with non-violent gaming or watching TV.

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