Kids’ heart rate increases during active video games

September 2nd, 2008 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 2 (IANS) Children burn more than four times as many calories per minute playing an active video game than playing a seated game, with their heart rate also being significantly higher, according to study.Robin R. Mellecker and Alison M. McManus, 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 percent more during the action/running game.

When compared with seated gaming, they burned 0.6 percent more calories playing active bowling and 3.9 more calories per minute playing on the action mat.

“This translates into a more than four-fold increase in energy expenditure for the XaviX J-Mat game,” the authors wrote.

“Preventing weight gain requires an energy adjustment of approximately 150 kilocalories per day.”

“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,” 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.”

Participants’ heart rate was significantly higher during either active game than during rest (20 more beats per minute for active bowling and 79 more beats per minute for the action/running game), and also was higher during the action mat gaming than during seated gaming.

“Findings show that kids who play the new generation of video games requiring physical activity expend energy at levels that could help to prevent overweight,” wrote Russell R. Pate, of the University of South Carolina School of Public Health, Columbia, in an accompanying editorial.

In the last decade, computer and video game sales have increased by $5.2 billion and more than 83 percent of US children aged eight to 18 have video game players in their bedrooms.

The study appears in the September issue of Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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