Purpose: Weight retention during the postpartum period is critical for the later development of obesity in women. Traditional physical activity is frequently discontinued because of incompatibility with mothers’ agenda (i.e., baby care). In the present study, active video games (AVG) are proposed for postpartum women to improve their body composition.
Methods: Thirty-four postpartum women (body mass index = 24.5 ± 3.4 kg·m−2) were randomized to an AVG group or a control group. Subjects assigned to the AVG group were given a Wii Nintendo console with the game Wii Fit Plus for 40 d. The two groups were tested for weight, body mass index, body fat mass, waist and hip circumferences, and other anthropometric parameters. Physical fitness, energy expenditure, energy intake, and adverse events were also investigated.
Results: The AVG group lost more weight than the control group (−2.2 ± 0.9 vs. −0.5 ± 0.7 kg, P < 0.001). They also exhibited more important reductions of BMI, waist and hip circumferences, and body fat (P < 0.05). During the 40-d period, subjects expended an estimated 4682 ± 2874 kcal just by playing AVG. Daily energy intake was reduced by 206 ± 559 kcal. There were significant positive correlations between playing frequency, total playing time, total energy expenditure during the 40-d period, and decrease in daily energy intake respectively, and weight loss (P < 0.05). Playing time data suggested no conflict with baby care activities.
Conclusions: AVGs could represent an interesting spare physical activity for postpartum women. In the present study, these games promoted physical activity, induced a reduction of energy intake, and subsequently minimized weight retention.