UCL Institute of Health Informatics


Younger adolescents' perceptions of physical activity, exergaming and virtual reality.

19 June 2019

New paper written by a group of researchers including Henry Potts from IHI exploring Younger adolescents' perceptions of physical activity, exergaming and virtual reality was recently published in JMIR.

Can we use the novelty and immersive nature of virtual reality (VR) to get adolescents into exercising? The v-Engage project at UCL will answer that question and is developing a new VR game in collaboration with Six to Start, the gaming company behind Zombies, Run!.

As a first step, the team of researchers behind this study interviewed a diverse group of adolescents to ask them what they think about physical activity, exergaming and VR. Although most of the interviewees had no awareness of government recommendations on exercise, they wanted to know more. Additionally, everyone interviewed was positive about the use of VR to promote exercise, being able to exercise at home was very appealing and VR gaming was viewed as a way to overcome social and cultural barriers to physical activity, particularly for girls.. The teenagers identified an increasingly challenging game as something desirable as well as the VR programme including a social or multiplayer element. The current cost of VR systems is an obstacle for now.

The v-Engage project is led by Dr Abi Fisher of the UCL Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health and includes Dr Henry Potts of the UCL Institute of Health Informatics. The paper was written by Nuša Farič, who is currently studying for her PhD at the Institute of Health Informatics.


Farič N, Yorke E, Varnes L, Newby K, Potts HW, Smith L, Hon A, Steptoe A, Fisher A. Younger Adolescents’ Perceptions of Physical Activity, Exergaming, and Virtual Reality: Qualitative Intervention Study JMIR Serious Games 2019;7(2):e11960

To read the full study follow this link: https://games.jmir.org/2019/2/e11960/