July 22, 2009

Study: Active video games good for kids

Children playing active video games do burn calories, but the games are not a substitute for sports, U.S. researchers say.

Compared to watching television, the calories burned while gaming or walking increased two- to three-fold. Similarly, high rates of energy expenditure, heart rate and perceived exertion were elicited from playing Wii boxing, Dance Dance Revolution Level 2 -- comparable to walking at 3.5 mph, researchers say.

Wii bowling and beginner level Dance Dance Revolution elicited a two-fold increase in energy expenditure compared to television watching.

These exer-games are no substitute for 'real' sports activities, but if kids play them as designed and stay engaged, they can burn several calories per hour above their sedentary level, principal investigator Kevin Short of University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City says in a statement.

We view any increase in energy expenditure -- calories burned -- as a good thing, especially in our overly sedentary society.

The findings were published in Pediatrics.