University of Oulu

Puolitaival, T., Sieppi, M., Pyky, R. et al. Health behaviours associated with video gaming in adolescent men: a cross-sectional population-based MOPO study. BMC Public Health 20, 415 (2020).

Health behaviours associated with video gaming in adolescent men : a cross-sectional population-based MOPO study

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Author: Puolitaival, Tuulia1,2; Sieppi, Mirjam1,2; Pyky, Riitta1,2,3,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute Foundation sr, Albertinkatu 18A, P.O. Box 365, 90100, Oulu, Finland
2Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
4Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
5Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-06-29


Background: Playing video games, a form of sedentary behaviour, is associated with poor well-being and increased risk of morbidity due to chronic disease. However, the association between health behaviours and video gaming is poorly understood. The purpose of this population-based study was to reveal the differences in dietary habits and physical activity for adolescent men with high amount of video games on weekdays, as compared to their peers who play less often.

Methods: Seven hundred ninety-six adolescent men (age: mean = 17.8, SD = 0.6) attended compulsory conscription for military service in 2013 and completed a questionnaire regarding the amount and frequency of their video gaming. They also participated in a medical examination and underwent physiological measurements. The participants who played video games more than 3 h/d on weekdays were compared with those who played 3h/d or less. The association between health behaviours and the amount of playing video gaming was analysed using multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results: 24.1% (n = 192) of the participants reported video gaming in excess of 3 h/d. This group had higher incidence of having low physical fitness, having poor eating habits, and being obese. No differences were found in smoking or alcohol drinking habits. Other factors, including low leisure-time physical activity (OR = 1.94; 95% CI, 1.29–2.91), low consumption of vegetables and fruits (OR = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.72–0.97), high consumption of sweetened soft drinks (OR = 1.28; 95% CI, 1.06–1.55) and high amount of sitting time (OR = 1.40; 95% CI, 1.28–1.52), explained one-fourth of the difference.

Conclusion: In this population-based study, adolescent men who played video games a lot on weekdays had lower physical fitness, were more often obese, and had poorer dietary habits, as compared to their peers who played less often. Because playing video games typically adds to a person’s total sedentary time, this activity may be associated with adverse health outcomes at a very young age— especially in combination with poor health behaviours. The results of this study can be utilized to promote health interventions targeted at adolescent men so as to raise their awareness of the disadvantages of excessive video gaming.

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Series: BMC public health
ISSN: 1471-2458
ISSN-E: 1471-2458
ISSN-L: 1471-2458
Volume: 20
Article number: 415
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-08522-x
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
315 Sport and fitness sciences
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This study was funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (DNRO 125/627/2009, 98/627/2010, 97/627/2011), Juho Vainio Foundation, Centre for Military Medicine Finland, Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, European Social Fund (project number S11580), European Regional Development Fund (70037/2010 and 70035/2011), the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The funding sources had no role in the study design, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, writing of the report or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Copyright information: © The Author(s). 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.