Pokémon go did not increase step count or distance travelled among college students

Serena A. Schade, Joseph M. Mahoney, April V. Spotts, Nathan Greenauer, Praveen Veerabhadrappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose. Physical inactivity is a well-known problem in the United States, especially among the younger population. Pokémon Go (PG) is a mobile game that has players catch Pokémon while walking in the real world. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of playing PG on student physical activity. Methods. Overall, 27 healthy undergraduate students participated in a 2-week study. They were randomly assigned to either PG-playing group or control group. Fitbit Charge HR devices were deployed for 2 weeks to all participants. The daily number of steps and distance travelled were recorded and the groups were compared by using the bootstrapped t-test. Results. No statistically significant difference in means was observed when comparing the average daily step count (p = 0.845) or the average daily distance travelled (p = 0.528) between control and PG-playing participants. Furthermore, the mean difference was close to 0 for each comparison, with 95% confidence intervals of -2072 to 2438 steps and -0.609 to 1.31 km, respectively. Conclusions. PG did not lead to a statistically observable increase in the number of steps or distance travelled by university students. These results may provide an impetus to create alternative interventions with better user engagement by applying mobile health apps with the intent to reach low-activity populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Movement
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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