A study published this week in the online journal Pediatrics has come to a startling conclusion.
According to the article, children who play active video games like Wii Sports and Dance Dance Revolution burn more calories than children who sit still in one place with jaws slack and eyes buggin’. Using the mighty powers of science, it has been conclusively proven that moving about requires more energy than not moving at all! A follow up study is planned wherein some children will shower daily, and others not one bit. The hypothesis: some correlation exists between the frequency of cleaning filth from the skin folds and the overall bouquet of the human body.
While the basic conclusions of the study seem pretty obvious, it has turned up some worthwhile data.
The study consisted of 14 boys and 9 girls, ages 10-13. They watched television, played DDR at two difficulty levels, and played Wii Sports bowling and boxing. It measured energy expenditure, heart rate, step rate, and perceived exertion.
Wii Boxing or DDR both burned as many calories as walking at about 3.5mph. That’s a brisk pace for a lot of people. Surprising since Wii Boxing, which is played only with your arms, burned as many calories as DDR which is played with the legs and generally involves a fair amount of hopping and scrambling. It may be that the kids were putting their whole bodies into Wii Boxing and getting more out of it than if they were to just flick and waggle their way through a match.
Not surprisingly, Wii Bowling and lower level did not have the same benefit as the more intense games. But it still burned twice as many calories as just watching TV.
Here’s the conclusion straight from the mouth of the science horse:
Conclusions Energy expenditure during active video game play is comparable to moderate-intensity walking. Thus, *for children who spend considerable time playing electronic screen games for entertainment, physically active games seem to be a safe, fun, and valuable means of promoting energy expenditure.
In a time where some are calling for games to carry warning labels stating that they are risk to your health, it’s nice to see some facts proving quite the opposite. As an adult who spends considerable time playing electronic screen games for entertainment it’s reassuring to see the medical establishment condone active gaming as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Via the LA Times