Active Gaming Keeps Children Burning Energy

September 2, 2008

Active video gaming can help children expend greater levels of energy than seated gaming, according to a report published in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

TUESDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Active video gaming can help children expend greater levels of energy than seated gaming, according to a report published in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Robin R. Mellecker and Alison McManus, Ph.D., of the University of Hong Kong in China, conducted a study of 18 children aged 6 to 12 years who engaged in active and seated computer games in the university's children's exercise laboratory. The investigators measured resting energy expenditure and heart rate before and during seated gaming and during active gaming using the XaviX bowling and XaviX J-Mat, manufactured by SSD Company Ltd., Shiga, Japan.

During seated gaming, the subjects expended significantly more energy than during rest, and energy expenditure was even higher during active gaming. Subjects expended 1.31 kcal/min-1 during seated gaming, 1.89 kcal/min-1 during XaviX bowling and 5.23 kcal/min-1 during XaviX J-Mat gaming, the researchers report. The mean heart rate during the XaviX bowling game was 102 beat/min-1 versus 160 beat/min-1 for the XaviX J-Mat game.

"Using active gaming media results in meaningful increases in energy expenditure and heart rate compared with the seated screen environment," the authors write. "Manipulating the gaming environment can provide children with appealing activity alternatives, and further development of 'exertainment' interventions is warranted, in particular determination of sustainability."

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