Some video games seem to keep kids fit

June 1st, 2011 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 1 (IANS) Interactive gaming can be a step in the right direction for overweight children, says a broad-based survey.

The two-year study, conducted by The University of Auckland, is the world’s most comprehensive probe into the health benefits of sustained active video gaming.

Active gaming uses wireless technology to connect controllers, motion sensors, cameras and screens, allowing software to respond to the players’ movements.

Funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, the study investigated the effect of active video gaming on 323 overweight and obese children.

The results showed a small but definite positive effect on body mass index (BMI) among young active gamers aged between 10 and 14 years compared to their control group. Small but positive effects were also found for snack food consumption and fitness.

Findings built on earlier smaller pilot studies at the University, showing that non-active gaming decreased and active gaming increased by 10 minutes per day for each child, according to an Auckland statement.

Principal investigator Ralph Maddison said: “Sedentary activities, such as video gaming, have been shown to be independently associated with obesity”.

“We were keen to see how much active gaming might increase physical activity and improve the body composition of children who were overweight and already well-acquainted with gaming.”

Although the results on body composition were small, Maddison said: “It could have significant implications for how health professionals combat the obesity epidemic or develop rehabilitation programmes.”

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