News / USA

Kids Work Up a Sweat With Video Games

Interactive games can be as effective as moderate-to-vigorous exercise at boosting metabolism rates

Some interactive video games cause children to burn more energy than they would walking on a treadmill set at three miles per hour.
Some interactive video games cause children to burn more energy than they would walking on a treadmill set at three miles per hour.

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
Vidushi Sinha

Interactive video games can be as good as outdoor sports when it comes to keeping young people fit. That's according to a new study which finds that some video games are as effective as moderate-to-vigorous exercise at boosting the metabolism rates of children.

Parents and educators often worry that young people spend too much time sitting in front of their computers playing video games, and too little time exercising. But the research team discovered that playing certain kinds of interactive video games is a pretty good way to work up a sweat.

"So what we found was that these types of video games can increase physical activity to moderate-to-vigorous levels, assuming that the appropriate games and appropriate levels are chosen," says Bruce Bailey, professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University. "And, if they participate, it can be something that can meet the guidelines for physical activity."

Bailey and his colleagues studied the effects of various types of popular interactive video games in which players' physical movements are transferred electronically to computer-screen action. They worked with 39 children whose average age was 11 years old.

The children were asked to play several so-called exergames, which include boxing, dancing and soccer video games. For the sake of comparison, they were also asked to walk on a treadmill set at three miles per hour for equal lengths of time. The results showed that the children utilized more energy on five out of the six active games than on the treadmill.

"It probably will not solve the epidemic of obesity but it could be a useful tool for parents and health professionals who are trying to increase physical activity in children, help them be more physically active," says Bailey, "especially in those children who enjoy video gaming and maybe don’t enjoy other forms of physical activity."

Experts agree that television watching, web-surfing and other sedentary pastimes have contributed to the epidemic of obesity in American children. The new video games, which promote physical activity, can help counter this trend and perhaps encourage kids to engage in other forms of exercise and outdoor sports.

"Kids need to get outside," says Dr. Deb Lonzer, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic, who finds the results encouraging. "There are a lot of other ways that they need to get exercise but this is a great starting point for kids because you can do it year round. It keeps them engaged, it’s fun, and it actually works to help them get their metabolic rates up, burn calories, and lose some weight."

The researchers note that not all exergames are equally beneficial. For example, Wii's boxing game involves more movement than Wii golf, and levels within the same game can involve very different levels of physical activity. Also, the study doesn't give a green light to all forms of video games. Researchers say more study is needed to measure other physiological effects of exergaming, and to see if it really does inspire kids in general to become more physically active.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid