Health: Active video games won't make kids more active

Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Swatting at virtual tennis balls and dancing around the living room with virtual gaming
systems doesn't mean children are necessarily more active, a new study suggests.

The study found when children were given active video games to play on Nintendo Wii, they didn't actually exert any more physical activity than those given games where they could play sitting still.

Public health researchers were hopeful these new games could provide an alternative to outdoor play and sports for at least some of the exercise children need.

But the study, conducted by researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston,
Texas, concluded there are no public health benefits from use of active video games.

78 children aged between nine and 12 were given Wii consoles and their usage tracked over 13 weeks.

Half were able to choose an active game such as Wii Sports or Dance while the other half were given the choice of an inactive game like Disney Sing-It Pop Hits.

Through the course of the study, physical activity levels were tested with a motion
measuring device which attached on a belt which determined when the participants were active and sedentary.

The results revealed those with active games didn't get any more exercise than those with inactive games.

Researcher Tom Baranowski told Reuters Health they were "frankly shocked by the complete lack of difference."

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