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Study finds activity games fight childhood obesity

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 06 Jan 2007 2:59 User comments (9)

Study finds activity games fight childhood obesity While you don't have to be an expert to know that the more activity you are performing, the more calories you burn, a study has confirmed that armed with the proper activity driven software, video games can be an effective tool to fight obesity in children. Mayo Clinic obesity researcher Lorraine Lanningham-Foster wanted to find out exactly how much energy some games on the market require from children.
"In this day and time, children really love to play video games," Lanningham-Foster told GameSpot. "And even though we might want children to be outside and engaged in more traditional children's play, I don't think that children are going to abandon video games anytime soon...It's important to look at it this way because video gaming may potentially be a better way for obesity researchers to develop better interventions for children."

The research involved a group of 25 children, 10 of which are described as "mildly obese". The children were tested in 5 separate states of activity...
  1. Sitting watching television
  2. Sitting and playing a traditional game (Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure)
  3. Playing activity demanding game (Nicktoons Movin (PS2)
  4. Playing activity demanding game (Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 2 (Xbox)
  5. Walking on threadmill at 1.5mph while watching television
The study concluded that the children burned the same amount of calories while sitting watching TV and when playing a traditional game. However, playing the Jellyfish Jam game on Nicktoons Movin' tripled the calories burned, with the obese children burning 5 times as many calories as they would sitting watching TV.

The most energy intensive of all the activities was playing Dance Dance Revolution, with the obese children burning 6 times as many calories than when sitting still. "Activity-promoting video games have the potential to increase energy expenditure in children to a degree similar to that of traditional playtime," the researchers concluded. "We think that converting seat-based screen time to activity-associated screen time is an essential approach for promoting an active environment that is also fun for children."

Since the study was completed months before Nintendo's Wii console was released, the researchers didn't get a chance to test the effects of its activity-oriented nature. "I haven't had a chance to do some studies with it, but it's something I'd love to have the opportunity to do," Lanningham-Foster said. "The technology there is actually quite similar to some of the technology we use to monitor physical activity in children."

Source:
GameSpot

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9 user comments

16.1.2007 5:41
Kevinhhh
Inactive

Nice! Now all the fat kids better buy this! !st Post!

26.1.2007 7:44

This is good for Nintendo Wii as many of its games are designed to exercise more than your fingers and your thumbs. Not just a few like on other systems.

36.1.2007 9:24

Its too bad the Wii wasn't included in the study (due to it not being out) but I would think most games on the Wii would fall in either the "Playing Nicktoons Movin" or "Playing DDR". I know boxing from Wii sports, when I really got into it, felt like I had just done a good session of DDR. Maybe a combo of the Wii and DDR (on any console) will help America become skinnier. :p

46.1.2007 20:37
observer2
Inactive

Oh lord what will they think of next. Increased activity = weight loss?? Who would have imagined such a thing was possible. Now if they could only get TV to improve our vision then we would be onto something. Where can I apply for a job doing this sort of research?

57.1.2007 7:09

Quote:
Oh lord what will they think of next. Increased activity = weight loss?? Who would have imagined such a thing was possible. Now if they could only get TV to improve our vision then we would be onto something. Where can I apply for a job doing this sort of research?
This study was basically "closure" to see how much of an effect different types of video games have on kids and kids of different weight. The whole point is to get specific details instead of just assuming everything - different types of exercise give different results. Studies are done on everything no matter how "obvious" some people might think the results will be, it's how for example, the medical industry avoids making assumptions until they have all the facts. One of the big reasons a study like this "should" exist is, a lot of kids gain weight because they don't like outdoor activities but might love digital entertainment, so a lot of concerned parents would like to know if there is such a thing as "video games helping kids lose weight and keep fit".

68.1.2007 22:31

Quote:
However, playing the Jellyfish Jam game on Nicktoons Movin' tripled the calories burned, with the obese children burning 5 times as many calories as they would sitting watching TV.
I could have told you that and I'm no professional. But this report may tip things in the favor of the Wii. Good Stuff :)

79.1.2007 7:51

I see how much my nephew plays video games and never goes outside. We are seriously creating a fat and lazy generation. I can't even imagine what the health problems will be in 20 years.

814.1.2007 18:32

In a great many areas, it isn't SAFE for children to go outside, even to their front/back yards. Many households must have two incomes to keep above poverty. That leads to sedintary kids as parks aren't safe.

928.1.2007 18:53
vudoo
Inactive

Not to mention neighboorhoods like in East Detriot. If you are in a low income neighboorhood you don't want your kids outside for fear of being shot or whatever. Also I'm damn tired of this new diet/exercise industry trying to sell their products to lower your Cholerstal (Can't spell), lower weight through fad diets that never work and the ever so popular weigh loss pills. Cortislim does work, but you have to stay on it the rest of your life once you start taking it because if you don't you'll gain the weight right back plus 10-20 extra pounds. If you want to really lose weight than do what the hindu's do. Lay off the beef, pork, dary. Eat Seafood, Turkey, Chicken, No yoke Posta. Try it for 2-3 months and you'll lose at least 10 Lbs per month. I know this cuz I tried it when I was hanging with my metaphysical friend. Don't drink milk. Drink Silk which is Soi milk. You can get use to it in no time and the weight will roll off. Not fad diet. Just used for thousands of yrs in India.

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