Over 60% of US adults are overweight or obese. Sedentary lifestyles are considered major contributors to the high rates and increasing prevalence of obesity. Physical activity is a critical component in shifting from sedentary lifestyles. Studies indicate that less than half of U.S. adults meet the CDC/ACSM physical activity recommendations. Interactive video games can increase PA, but no study has yet assessed physiologic effort, hedonics, and perceived exertion for playing immersive virtual reality (VR) and controller-free screen-based active video games (AVGs), compared to treadmill walking and resting. We ran 25 subjects (9 female, 16 male) in 10-minute sessions of five conditions. Head Mounted Display VR: Oculus (Fruit Ninja and Boxing), Screen-based AVG: Kinect (Fruit Ninja and Boxing), and Treadmill walking at 3 mph. One, six-condition (Rest, Treadmill 3.0, Kinect Boxing, Kinect Fruit Ninja, Oculus Boxing, Oculus Fruit Ninja) repeated-measures ANOVA was used to examine differences in HRmean. Three, five-condition (Treadmill 3.0, Kinect Boxing, Kinect Fruit Ninja, Oculus Boxing, Oculus Fruit Ninja) repeated-measures ANOVA were used to examine differences in HRpeak, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and Hedonics (Liking). Post hoc analyses using pairwise comparisons were used to further assess significant main effects of the condition. A Pearson's product-moment correlation was run to assess the relationship between activity condition HRmean and RPE VR Boxing elicited the greatest physiological effort, producing vigorous-intensity PA. There was no significant difference in average heart rate for the Treadmill, Kinect Fruit Ninja, Kinect Boxing, and VR Fruit Ninja. Thus, the Kinect and VR sport and casual games are comparable to treadmill walking PA levels and qualify as moderate-intensity activity. The VR Fruit Ninja, VR Boxing, Kinect Fruit Ninja were the most enjoyed activities. Despite having the highest Heart rate and the highest self-reported Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE), VR Boxing was significantly more enjoyable than Treadmill Walking. There was no statistically significant correlation between Activity Condition HRmean and RPE. Both casual and sports VR and AVG activities are enjoyable activities for adults, stimulating moderate-to-vigorous activity through a traditionally sedentary medium. This research extends previous works in active video gaming effects on physiological cost, perceived exertion and hedonics and fills the gap relating virtual reality active video games. The significance of the research outcomes is that this analysis provides a scientifically validated approach to support the establishment of physical activity level goals and guidelines in the development of active video games as a response and/or remedy to address the sedentary lifestyles that are contributing to American and global obesity.


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Graduation Date





McCauley, Pamela


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

Degree Program

Industrial Engineering









Release Date

December 2018

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)