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Active Video Games Help Kids Exercise
Date:9/1/2008

They burn many more calories and have higher heart rates, researchers say

MONDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Children love playing video games, and playing active versions of these games may help stop children from becoming obese, University of Hong Kong researchers report.

In fact, children playing active video games have higher heart rates and burn four times as many calories a minute than children playing passive video games, according to this new study.

"Technological change in our homes, schools and workplaces has meant the amount of walking we do has declined significantly, and in its place, disproportionately greater amounts of time are spent seated," said lead researcher Alison M. McManus, from the university's Institute of Human Performance. "With childhood obesity posing the largest international health riddle, converting seated activities into active ones is an important goal."

Parents need to be creative in their endeavors to get children active, McManus said. Children play video games, because it is fun, exciting and challenging, but it is largely conducted seated, she added.

"The children in this study had a lot of fun playing media games and burnt up calories, showing that making video game media active can certainly help in our efforts to get children active," McManus said. "The challenge is for industry to continue developing new and exciting games that integrate physical activity into the virtual game environment."

The report was published in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

McManus and her colleague, Robin R. Mellecker, measured heart rate and number of calories burned in 18 children aged 6 to 12, who played an active video game, a passive video game, and an action/running game. Over 25 minutes, the children alternated between the three games with a five-minute rest in between each game, the researchers noted. '/>"/>

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