Condition category
Circulatory System
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Videogames are an extremely popular pastime, in particular amongst young people. Research has suggested that “passive” activities such as watching television and computer gaming increase the risk of excess weight gain and obesity. However, computer games are very variable, and not all involve passive participation. For example, many computer games involve exposure to violent images during simulated violent encounters. Such games involve the participant responding at high speed to simulated experiences which, in real life, would be highly stressful. In real life, stress generates many metabolic effects, including those associated with cardiovascular risk. Chronic exposure to stress, for example in the work place, has been associated with central obesity (excessive fat around the stomach). It is unknown whether simulations of violence in computer games generate the same kinds of stress response. The aim of the study is to understand if playing computer games has different effects from watching television, and if playing violent computer games generates different effects to playing non-violent games.

Who can participate?
Our study is open to healthy young men aged between 18 and 30 years.

What does the study involve?
The study involves a single visit to UCL Institute of Child Health, London. Participants will be randomly allocated to one of three activities: (a) watching television, (b) playing a non-violent computer game, or (c) playing a computer game involving high levels of simulated violence. Measurements of weight, height, heart rate, blood pressure and a saliva sample will be taken.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
All participants will learn their current weight, height and BMI, and they will also be given their blood pressure results. There are no known risks to participants.

Where is the study run from?
UCL Institute of Child Health in the Childhood Nutrition Research Centre (UK)

When is the study starting and how long is expected to be run for?
January 2010 to April 2011

Who is funding the study?
The Childhood Nutrition Research Centre at UCL Institute of Child Health

Who is the main contact?
Prof. Jonathan Wells

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Jonathan Wells


Contact details

University College London
Institute of Child Health
Childhood Nutrition Research Centre
30 Guilford Street
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Metabolic response to playing video games: a randomised trial


Study hypothesis

Indices of metabolism and cardiovascular risk differ between those watching television, those playing a sport computer game, and those playing a violent video game.

Ethics approval

University College London (UCL) Graduate School Ethics Committee, 19/05/2009, ref: 0326/004

Study design

Randomised trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


Cardiovascular disease and obesity


Randomisation to one of three groups:
1. Watching television
2. Playing sports video games
3. Violent video games

The study involved a single 1-hour measurement session for each participant, when they were requested to participate in their randomly-specified activity (watching television, playing a sports computer game, or playing a violent video game). The study was completed at the end of this session and no further follow up was conducted.

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Blood pressure

Secondary outcome measures

1. Anthropometry (weight, height)
2. Saliva samples for assessment of salivary cortisol
3. Visual-scale ratings of appetite
4. Heart rate

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Healthy young men
2. Aged 18-30 years

Participant type

Healthy volunteer

Age group




Target number of participants

Three groups of young men (16 per group) - 48

Participant exclusion criteria

1. Smokers
2. Body mass index (BMI) <18 or >25 kg/m2
3. Weight-unstable (i.e. a change of more than 3kg in the previous 3 months)
4. Diabetic or hypertensive individuals
5. Those with chronic or acute medical conditions or medications that might affect the primary outcomes of the study
6. Those with psychiatric disorders
7. Consuming less than 21 units of alcohol per week

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

University College London
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


University College London (UK)

Sponsor details

Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

University College London Institute of Child Health - Childhood Nutrition Research Centre (UK)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

09/08/2016: No publications found, verifying study status with principal investigator.