Particularly in industrialised wealthy societies physical inactivity causes 1.9 million deaths per year  because of its several adverse health effects . Physical activity provides important health benefits already in adolescence, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, improved physical fitness, as well as reduced body fatness and favourable cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk profiles . Positive health effects of a physically active lifestyle among youth are tracked to adulthood, such as lesser amount of adult obesity [4, 5]. Sedentary behaviour and physical activity have also been shown to persist and track from youth into adulthood [5, 6]. Despite the known benefits of physical activity on health and future life opportunities, recent evidence consistently demonstrates that a majority of adolescents do not meet current physical activity and public health recommendations of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate or vigorous intensity activity on at least five days per week [3, 7, 8]. In fact, even less than 10% of the 16–19 years old meet these recommendations . Obesity has become more common while physical fitness has deteriorated markedly. The change in weight has been rapid where the average weight of male adolescents has increased by more than six kilos over a period of 13 years . At the same time, physical performance has declined dramatically [11, 12].
Recent evidence underlines the importance of focusing on the balance of light-intensity activities and sedentary behaviours due to the deleterious effects of sitting on health and wellbeing . A meta-analysis showed a dose–response relation between increased sedentary behaviour and unfavourable health outcomes in children and youth . Furthermore, a reduction in any type of sedentary time is associated with lower health risk in youth. Daily TV viewing in excess of 2 hours is associated with diminished physical and psychosocial health, and a lowered sedentary time reduces body mass index . Physical inactivity has also been associated with an increased likelihood of having several emotional and behavioural problems among boys [15–17]. Hence, an early intervention promoting physical activity and decreasing sedentary behaviour at young age may prevent any future adverse health outcomes.
At present it is not known what the most appropriate method for promoting physical activity among young men is. This would require knowledge and understanding of factors related to deciding to engage in or abstain from physical activity. Interventions to promote physical activity have typically involved teaching individuals the skills to change their activity behaviour, providing knowledge about the goals or opportunities of physical activity, or creating a more physically active environment. In adolescents, multicomponent interventions including school, family and communal elements seem to be most beneficial, yet studies outside the school setting are called for [18, 19]. Tailored health communication has proved to be an effective method in promoting healthy behaviours [20, 21], but has not been utilized in activation interventions among youth. Innovative approaches taking into account the context of changing youth cultures and trajectories are needed.
In research of behaviour and behaviour change understanding and analysing the phenomena in its socio-cultural setting is essential . Qualitative research methods allow observing the phenomena multifaceted and in the actual context . Thus the socially constructing cultural meanings such as values, attitudes and motives, which direct the actual health behaviour, can be incorporated to the study of the physical activity and activation of young men. Both cultural studies of health and technology are recognised fields of research [24, 25], but the combination of these in studies which aims at activation of certain populations through intervention are just emerging.
There is indicative evidence that information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as the Internet and mobile phones can be more effective than other methods for carrying out physical activity interventions among young people . The technology allows a possibility to distribute tailored feedback to a wide range of people and settings in a low cost manner [18, 27]. One effective way to convey health information and affect health behaviour could be through games [28, 29]. Recent RCT trials show successful interventions  and improved health-related behaviour [31, 32] through the use of games. Recently, a study showed that using a 3D fantasy game for the treatment of depressive symptoms among adolescents was as effective as conventional counselling and significantly reduced depression, anxiety and hopelessness, and improved quality of life . It seems that the inherent orientation towards playing together transfers from other areas of life into computer games. Social skills are needed, or must be developed, in order to succeed in most of the multi-player games. The social bonding can be so strong that it becomes one of the most important motivating factors for playing the games . This might also apply in the context of physical activation when utilizing a game technology. In this study gamification means the process of increasing user engagement and participation by integrating game mechanics into other youth oriented services, such as communal services, networking and distribution of health information .
The overall aim of the study is to provide new evidence-based knowledge for promoting health and wellbeing in young men. The purpose is to set up a multidisciplinary approach for assessing the effectiveness of 1) an interactive, gamified activation method, based on peer networks and participation, on physical activity, aerobic fitness and relationship towards physical activity in young men 2) the gamified activation on physical health, with special emphasis on weight and related factors, and on mental and social health and wellbeing.
The hypotheses are that by the end of the intervention the men in the activation group: 1) are physically more active and fit, and 2) their self-determined and measured health is better and there are fewer obese subjects compared to the control group.