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Title: Influence of Pokemon Go on physical activity levels of university players : a cross-sectional study
Authors: Wong, FY 
Keywords: Physical activity levels
Pokemon Go
Active lifestyle
Augmented reality games
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: BioMed Central
Source: International journal of health geographics, 2017, v. 16, 8 How to cite?
Journal: International journal of health geographics 
Abstract: Background: The prevalence of overweight is increasing and the effectiveness of various weight management and exercise programs varied. An augmented reality smartphone game, Pokemon Go, appears to increase activity levels of players. This study assessed the players and ex-players' frequencies and durations of staying outdoors, and walking/jogging before and during the time they played Pokemon Go, evaluated the physical activity levels of players, explayers and non-players, and investigated the potential factors which determined their play statuses.
Methods: Students in a university answered an online-questionnaire survey. The IPAQ-short form was incorporated to measure vigorous-intensity activities, moderate-intensity activities and walking. Chi square tests were used to compare frequencies and durations of staying outdoors and walking/jogging, health discomforts and physical activity levels between players, ex-players and non-players. Wilcoxon signed ranks tests were performed to assess the changes prior to and during the time when the players and ex-players played Pokemon Go. Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess factors contributing to playing, quitting or not playing Pokemon Go.
Results: 644 university students answered the questionnaire. Compared with the ex-players, the players were significantly more frequent to stay outdoors when playing Pokemon Go (P < 0.001), walk/jog to a location to catch Pokemon, to Pokestops or Gyms (P < 0.005), as well as walking/jogging to hatch eggs (P < 0.001). The players spent a mean of 108.19 +/- 158.21 min/week to walk/jog in order to play the game which is equivalent to burning 357 kcal/week for a 60-kg person walking a moderate pace. Compared with the non-players, players were more likely to be aged 18-25 years [OR (95% CI) 3.28 (1.28-8.40), P = 0.013], never [OR (95% CI) 10.51 (1.12-98.57), P = 0.039] or rarely [OR (95% CI) 4.00 (1.95-8.23), P < 0.001] stayed outdoors and rarely walked/jogged prior to playing the game [OR (95% CI) 3.88 (1.86-8.05), P < 0.001]. However, there was no significant difference in physical activity levels between the three groups (P = 0.573).
Conclusions: Players who used to be sedentary benefited the most from Pokemon Go. The game can be used as a starting point for sedentary people to begin an active lifestyle. The impact of Pokemon Go on physical activity can provide insights to public health workers in using novel strategies in health promotion.
ISSN: 1476-072X
DOI: 10.1186/s12942-017-0080-1
Rights: © The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
The following publication: Wong, F. Y. (2017). Influence of Pokémon Go on physical activity levels of university players: a cross-sectional study. International journal of health geographics, 16(1), 8 is available at
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