Children burn more than four times as many calories per minute playing an active video game than playing a seated game, and their heart rate is also significantly higher with the active game, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Video and computer gaming is rapidly becoming the preferred leisure-time activity for school-aged children, according to background information in the article. In the last decade, computer and video game sales have increased by $5.2 billion and more than 83 percent of U.S. children age 8 to 18 have video game players in their bedrooms. At the same time, obesity rates continue to increase worldwide; sedentary activities such as seated game-playing may contribute.
The gaming industry has begun producing active "extertainment" gaming systems, the authors note. "A recent active gaming concept that allows players to experience various activities (e.g., bowling, fishing, tennis, golf) in a virtual world is the XaviX gaming system (SSD Company Ltd., Shiga, Japan)," the authors write. "In addition to the exercise gaming modalities, the XaviX system includes a gaming mat (XaviX J-Mat) that allows participants to travel the streets of Hong Kong at a walk or a run, avoiding obstacles and stamping out ninjas."
Robin R. Mellecker, B.Sc., and Alison M. McManus, Ph.D., of the Institute of Human Performance, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, measured heart rate and energy (calorie) expenditure in 18 children age 6 to 12 (average age 9.6) during a 25-minute gaming protocol. Participants rested for five minutes, then played a seated computer bowling game, an active bowling game and the action/running game for five minutes each, with five minutes of rest between active games.
Compared with resting, children burned 39 percent more calories per minute playing a seated game, 98 percent more playing active bowling and 451 p
|Contact: Alison M. McManus, Ph.D.|
JAMA and Archives Journals