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

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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid