Background: gamification is a potentially attractive option for improving balance and reducing falls. Objectives: to assess the effect of balance training using the NintendoTM Wii game console on balance (primary outcome), falls and fear of falling. Design: quasi-randomised, open-label, controlled clinical trial in parallel groups, carried out on community-dwelling patients over 70 years, able to walk independently. Participants were assigned 1:1 to the intervention or control group. Balance training was conducted using the Nintendo WiiFitTM twice a week for 3 months. Balance was assessed using the Tinetti balance test (primary outcome), the unipedal stance and the Wii balance tests at baseline, 3 months and 1 year. Falls were recorded and Fear of falling was assessed by the Falls Efficacy Scale (Short-FES-I). Results: 1,016 subjects were recruited (508 in both the intervention and the control group; of whom 274 and 356 respectively completed the 3-month assessment). There was no between-group difference in the Tinetti balance test score, with a baseline mean of 14.7 (SD 1.8) in both groups, and 15.2 (1.3) at 3 months in the intervention group compared to 15.3 (1.7) in controls; the between-group difference was 0.06 (95% CI 0.30-0.41). No differences were seen in any of the other balance tests, or in incident falls. There was a reduction in the fear of falling at 3 months, but no effect at 1 year. Conclusions: the study found no effect of balance training using the NintendoTM Wii on balance or falls in older community-dwelling patients. The study protocol is available at clinicaltrials.gov under the code NCT02570178.
- Nintendo WiiFit
- older adults
- quasi-randomized clinical trial