Video Gaming Your Way to Health
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Worried about your child not being active enough and gaining weight because he or she spends too much time playing video games? Well, a new study from the University of Chester, England suggests that you may not have to worry.
Although low levels of physical activity have been linked to obesity and sedentary gaming has been thought to lower levels of physical activity, active video gaming with dancing and boxing have become associated with increased heart rate, oxygen uptake, and energy expenditure.
Using 10 boys and eight girls ages 11 to 15, Stephen R. Smallwood, M.Sc., and colleagues studied the physiologic responses and energy expenditure of active video gaming using a video game with a webcam-style sensor device and software technology that allows the player to interact directly without the need for a game controller. Mike Morris, M.Sc., Senior Lecturer at the University of Chester, said, “Children played a traditional game that included no more than the twiddling of thumbs and two games on the Xbox Kinect involving whole body movements (Dance Central and Kinect Sports Boxing) whilst wearing a mask that measured their oxygen use and determined the amount of calories they used.”
The games, Dance Central and Kinect Sports Boxing, increased energy expenditure by 150 percent to 263 percent, which according to Morris, “if played 2 hours per day could, at best, reduce weight by 0.3 kg.”
"Although it is unlikely that active video game play can single-handedly provide the recommended amount of physical activity for children or expend the number of calories required to prevent or reverse the obesity epidemic, it appears from the results of this study that Kinect active game play can contribute to children's physical activity levels and energy expenditure, at least in the short term," the authors were quoted as saying.
Regarding the most surprising thing they found, Morris said, “Playing the Kinect could be compared to playing table tennis or volleyball and seemed to meet the guidelines to improve fitness levels.” Morris also said, “Further studies are needed to investigate the long term effects of playing active video games and the effects on weight loss and fitness.”
Source: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, September 2012