Gamification of physical activity and active travel in school-children; the impact of the Beat the Street intervention in Waterford, Ireland

Kuczynska, Aneta (2019) Gamification of physical activity and active travel in school-children; the impact of the Beat the Street intervention in Waterford, Ireland. Masters thesis, Waterford Institute of Technology.

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Gamification of physical activity and active travel in school-children; the impact of the Beat the Street intervention in Waterford, Ireland.pdf

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Abstract

Introduction: Levels of physical activity and active travel are insufficient in Ireland. Gamification may be an effective approach to increasing walking and cycling in school-children. Beat the Street is a real-life walking and cycling game where players accumulate points using swipe card technology. The primary purpose of this study was to measure the efficacy of the gamified intervention on travel modes in school-children. Methods: This study evaluates a seven-week (September-November, 2017) gamified intervention. A seasonally match repeat cross-sectional surveys were collected in 24 intervention schools (16 primary and 8 secondary) and 2 control primary schools. Baseline surveys were conducted in October 2016 in 5th & 6th years of primary schools and 1st year of secondary schools. Follow-up surveys were conducted in November 2017 in 5th & 6th years of primary schools and 1st year of secondary schools. Results: Overall, 1892 children completed self-report surveys at baseline (intervention 1769, control 123) and 1776 at follow-up (intervention 1674, control 102). Females were significantly (p<0.001) more likely to play the game regularly when compared to males. Almost 25.3% of all females played the game every day in contrast with 16.1% of males. A greater proportion of primary school-children played the game every week (66.1% vs 45.5% of secondary school-children). There was no overall change in the proportion of school-children who walked or cycled to school in the intervention schools (26.5% at baseline and 25.9% at follow-up in primary; 21.1% at baseline and 19.2% at follow-up in secondary) compared with control (45.4% at baseline and 43% at follow-up) post-intervention. Correspondingly, there was no overall change in the number of days school-children achieved 60 minutes of MVPA at follow-up in the intervention (5.5, ±1.72 days at baseline to 5.2, ±1.82 days at follow-up in primary; 4.8, ±1.88 at baseline to 4.5, ±1.90 in secondary schools) versus control schools (5.9, ±1.49 days at baseline to 5.5, ±1.85 days at follow-up in primary schools). Children recommended the game should have a greater number of boxes, a more comprehensive reward system and be more challenging, exciting and fun. Discussion: The BTS game was not effective in creating a modal shift to active travel to school. The game itself needs to employ a more persuasive architecture to maintain interest and participation levels. Despite this, the game achieved very high levels of unprompted awareness, particularly among primary school children and girls. Gamification of active travel to school should not be a stand-alone intervention. It should be integrated into multicomponent programs which include infrastructural provision, policy development and curricular programming.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Physical activity, Schoolchildren
Departments or Groups: *NONE OF THESE*
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Studies
Depositing User: Derek Langford
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019 13:26
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 13:26
URI: http://repository.wit.ie/id/eprint/3375

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