Daily Dad News
Active Video Games May Not Boost Exercise Activity In Kids, Study Says
February 28, 2012
When the Nintendo Wii exploded onto the scene in 2006, the gaming console changed the way video games were played with its innovative motion-detecting remote control system. Ushering in a new age for videogames, the new “active” format of playing games while moving about was purported to give children incentive to exercise more. However, a study released Monday showed that the active games may not promote physical activity in kids.
In the journal from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the published study led by professor Tom Baranowski of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston focused on data collected on 78 children between the ages of 9 and 12. Of these children, all were considered at risk for adult obesity based on their body mass index. The research team placed Nintendo Wii game systems into the homes of the children, with no mandate on how often games were played.
One group of children was told to pick active games while the other group picked games that were not based on movement. The study concluded in short that physical activity between the children was about the same and thus active gaming did not provide a boost in physical activity.
“It doesn’t appear that there’s any public health value to having active video games available in stores,” said professor Baranowski, in a press release. “Simply having those active video games available on the shelf or at home doesn’t automatically lead to increased levels of physical activity in children.”
Other studies have shown differing results, although they were mostly performed under lab conditions. In those studies, there was a notable boost in activity amongst children. The study wasn’t all bad news for active video gamers. The Baranowski study did get comments from the children saying they were happy to try sports in the virtual sense that normally they’d never try.
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