Amy S. Lu Biography

Amy S. Lu

Associate Professor
College of Arts, Media and Design
Bouvé College of Health Sciences

[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Physical Activity
Pediatric Obesity
Health Technology
Health Communication
Games for Health


Amy S. Lu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies of the College of Arts, Media and Design and the Department of Health Sciences of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. She directs the Health Technology Lab and studies the persuasive mechanism of media and communication technologies and their health behavioral and psychological applications and mechanism with a focus on physical activity promotion and sedentary behavior reduction among the youth, especially children living in diverse urban neighborhoods. 

Project Description

Physical activity (PA) is key both to preventing childhood obesity and to reducing an individual’s risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) and certain types of cancer. While conventional PA interventions face problems of sustained motivation and adherence, active video games (AVGs) offer an innovative alternative for PA promotion due to their motivational properties. Although AVGs may allow players to achieve the recommended levels of PA, children’s motivation to play AVGs often decreases quickly. We plan to recruit 100-150 overweight/obese children between 8 and 12 from the Greater Boston area in 2019-2020 for a physical activity intervention project using AVGs as part of an R01 project funded by NIDDK. Our project will inspire novel AVG designs and introduce a new dimension of PA facilitation with immersive and inclusive games among diverse children, which may then be translated into school- or family-based health interventions. Such inquiries would help create innovative and effective media products. 

Publications – Past Three Years

Monashefsky, A., Alon, D., Baran, A., Borah, R., Lee, K., McGarrity, E., Menon, H., Sousa, C., Swaminathan, N., & Lu, A. S. (2022). Running an active gaming-based randomized controlled trial during the COVID-19 pandemic: Challenges, solutions and lessons learned. Public health in practice (Oxford, England)3, 100259.*

Sousa, C. V., Hwang, J., Cabrera-Perez, R., Fernandez, A., Misawa, A., Newhook, K., & Lu, A. S. (2022). Active video games in fully immersive virtual reality elicit moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and improve cognitive performance in sedentary college students. Journal of sport and health science11(2), 164–171.*

Alon, D., Sousa, C. V., & Lu, A. S. (2021). What Type of Body Shape Moves Children? An Experimental Exploration of the Impact of Narrative Cartoon Character Body Shape on Children’s Narrative Engagement, Wishful Identification, and Exercise Motivation. Frontiers in psychology12, 653626.*

Sousa, C. V., Hwang, J., Simoes, H. G., Sun, K. J., & Lu, A. S. (2021). Rapid component of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption of children of different weight status after playing active video games. BMC pediatrics21(1), 80.*

Hwang, J., Hillman, C. H., Lee, I. M., Fernandez, A. M., & Lu, A. S. (2021). Comparison of Inhibitory Control After Acute Bouts of Exergaming Between Children with Obesity and Their Normal-Weight Peers. Games for health journal10(1), 63–71.*

Alon, D., Sousa, C. V., Baranowski, T., Barreira, T. V., Cabrera-Perez, R., Chiu, K., Fernandez, A., Fleischman, A., Huang, S., Hwang, J., Green, M. C., Lee, I. M., Lee, K., Lessard, S., Levitsky, L. L., Misawa, A., Noubary, F., Samuels, R., Sun, K. J., Thompson, D., … Lu, A. S. (2020). The impact of narratives and active video games on long-term moderate-to-vigorous physical activity: A randomized controlled trial protocol. Contemporary clinical trials96, 106087.*

Sousa, C. V., Fernandez, A., Hwang, J., & Lu, A. S. (2020). Correction: The Effect of Narrative on Physical Activity via Immersion During Active Video Game Play in Children: Mediation Analysis. Journal of medical Internet research22(5), e20134.*

Lu, A. S., Green, M. C., & Thompson, D. (2019). Using Narrative Game Design to Increase Children’s Physical Activity: Exploratory Thematic Analysis. JMIR serious games7(4), e16031.

Hwang, J., Lee, I. M., Fernandez, A. M., Hillman, C. H., & Lu, A. S. (2019). Exploring Energy Expenditure and Body Movement of Exergaming in Children of Different Weight Status. Pediatric exercise science31(4), 438–447.*

Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J., Chen, T. A., Buday, R., Beltran, A., Dadabhoy, H., Ryan, C., & Lu, A. S. (2019). Videogames That Encourage Healthy Behavior Did Not Alter Fasting Insulin or Other Diabetes Risks in Children: Randomized Clinical Trial. Games for health journal8(4), 257–264.*

Baranowski, T., Ryan, C., Hoyos-Cespedes, A., & Lu, A. S. (2019). Nutrition Education and Dietary Behavior Change Games: A Scoping Review. Games for health journal8(3), 153–176.*

Levac, D. E., & Lu, A. S. (2019). Does Narrative Feedback Enhance Children’s Motor Learning in a Virtual Environment?. Journal of motor behavior51(2), 199–211.

*: Co-authored with undergraduate or graduate students