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 Five Years

Hwang, J., Lee, I-M., Fernandez, A., Hillman, C., & Lu, A. S. Exploring energy expenditure and body movement of exergaming in children of different weight status. Forthcoming in Pediatric Exercise Science. *

Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J., Chen, T., Buday, R., Beltran, A., Dadabhoy, H., Ryan, C. & Lu, A. S. Videogames that encourage healthy behavior did not alter fasting insulin or other diabetes risks in children: Randomized clinical trial. Forthcoming in Games for Health Journal. PMID: 30964335 *

Baranowski, T., Ryan, C., Hoyos-Cespedes, A. & Lu, A. S. Nutrition education and dietary behavior change games: A scoping review. Forthcoming in Games for Health Journal. PMID: 30339086 *

Levac, D. E., & Lu, A. S. (2018). Does Narrative Feedback Enhance Children’s Motor Learning in a Virtual Environment? Journal of Motor Behavior51(2), 199–211. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2018.1454398

Hwang, J., Fernandez, A., & Lu, A. S. (2018). Application and Validation of Activity Monitors’ Epoch Lengths and Placement Sites for Physical Activity Assessment in Exergaming. Journal of Clinical Medicine7(9), 268. doi: 10.3390/jcm7090268

Hwang, J., & Lu, A. S. (2018). Narrative and active video game in separate and additive effects of physical activity and cognitive function among young adults. Scientific Reports8(1), 11020. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29274-0

Lu, A. S., & Kharrazi, H. (2018). A State-of-the-Art Systematic Content Analysis of Games for Health. Games for Health Journal7(1), 1–15. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2017.0095 (The Most Read Articles of the Journal)

Robinson, T. N., Banda, J. A., Hale, L. S., Lu, A. S., Fleming-Milici, F., Calvert, S., & Wartella, E. (2017). Screen Media Exposure and Obesity in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics140(S2), S91–S101. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1758k

Baranowski, T. M., Blumberg, F. S., Gao, Z. J., Kato, P. A., Kok, G. J., Lu, A. S., Lyons, E. J., Morrill, B. A., Peng. W., Prins, P. J., Snyder, L., Staiano, A.Thompson, D. (2017). Getting Research on Games for Health Funded. Games for Health Journal6(1), 1–8. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2016.0106

Lu, A. S., Baranowski, T., Hong, S. L., Buday, R., Thompson, D., Beltran, A., Dadabhoy, H.R., & Chen, T.-A. (2016). The Narrative Impact of Active Video Games on Physical Activity Among Children: A Feasibility Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research18(10), 272. doi: 10.2196/jmir.6538

Davies, V. F., Mafra, R., Beltran, A., Baranowski, T., & Lu, A. S. (2016). Children’s Cognitive and Affective Responses About a Narrative Versus a Non-Narrative Cartoon Designed for an Active Videogame. Games for Health Journal5(2), 114–119. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2015.0019

Baranowski, T., Blumberg, F., Buday, R., DeSmet, A., Fiellin, L. E., Green, C. S., Kato, P. M., Lu, A. S., Maloney, A. E., Mellecker, R., Morrill, B. A., Peng, W., Shegog, R., Simons, M., Staiano, A. E., Thompson, D. & Young, K. (2016). Getting Research on Games for Health Funded. Games for Health Journal6(1), 1–8. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2016.0106 (The Most Read Articles of the Journal)

Brand, L., Beltran, A., Buday, R., Oconnor, T., Hughes, S., Baranowski, J., Diep, C., Lu, A. S., & Baranowski, T. (2015). Prose Fiction as a Narrative Companion for a Vegetable Parenting Videogame. Games for Health Journal4(4), 305–311. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2014.0143

Lu, A. S. (2015). Narrative in Exergames: Thoughts on Procedure, Mechanism, and Others. Games for Health Journal4(1), 19–24. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2014.0090

Straker, L. M., Fenner, A. A., Howie, E. K., Feltz, D. L., Gray, C. M., Lu, A. S., Mueller, F., Simons, M., & Barnett, L. M. (2015). Efficient and Effective Change Principles in Active Videogames. Games for Health Journal4(1), 43–52. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2014.0077

Riet, J. V. T., Crutzen, R., & Lu, A. S. (2014). How Effective Are Active Videogames Among the Young and the Old? Adding Meta-analyses to Two Recent Systematic Reviews. Games for Health Journal3(5), 311–318. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2014.0005

Lu, A. S., Baranowski, J., Islam, N., & Baranowski, T. (2014). How to engage children in self-administered dietary assessment programmes. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics27(S1), 5–9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277x.2012.01258.x