ROCHESTER, Minn., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If playing video
games makes kids less active -- and contributes to obesity -- why not
create more video games that require activity? That's the question prompted
by a Mayo Clinic research study published in the current issue of the
medical journal Pediatrics.
"We know if kids play video games that require movement, they burn more
energy than they would while sitting and playing traditional screen games.
That's pretty obvious even without our data," says Lorraine
Lanningham-Foster, Ph.D., Mayo obesity researcher and study leader. "The
point is that children - - very focused on screen games -- can be made
healthier if activity is a required part of the game."
The study is the first to scientifically measure the energy spent
playing video games. While the study's scope is small -- only 25 children
-- it was conducted with great accuracy. Fifteen children were of normal
weight for their height and frame; 10 were mildly obese. Both groups were
tested while sitting and watching television, playing a traditional video
game, playing two types of activity-required video games, and watching
television while walking on a treadmill.
The results showed that sitting while watching television and playing
traditional video games expended the same amount of energy. When
participants played with the first activity-oriented video game, one that
uses a camera to virtually "place" them in the game where they catch balls
and other objects, their energy expenditure tripled. The result was the
same for the lean and mildly obese children. Walking on a treadmill while
watching TV also tripled expenditure for the lean group, but showed a
nearly fivefold increase for the mildly obese group. While using a dance
video game, both groups burned the most calories, but it was considerably
more for the obese group -- just over six times more than sitting still.
Screen time (both TV and video games) now averages eight hours a day
among children. The Mayo researchers suggest requiring activity in more
video and computer games is one potential approach for reversing the
obesity trend. Despite the small sample in this study, the researchers
consider the findings robust and say that they warrant further studies in
Other study authors include Teresa Jensen, M.D.; Randal Foster; Aoife
Redmond, M.B.B.Ch.; Brian Walker; Dieter Heinz, M.D.; and James Levine,
M.D., Ph.D. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health
and Mayo Clinic.
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-- is available as a resource for your health stories.
For more on Mayo Clinic research, go to http://www.mayo.edu.
SOURCE Mayo Clinic