Let the kids play video games -- they’re burning calories


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Parents, we know it can be difficult at times to get your kids away from the video games and burn a few calories. But we have some good news: playing some of those video games can burn calories.

Thanks to the advent of exergaming (video games that include a physical component), kids no longer have to remain couch spuds in order to play their games. A new study published online recently in the journal Pediatrics found that some exergames provide as much or more activity than walking at a moderate or intense pace.


The study focused on a small group of children --14 boys and nine girls age 10 to 13. Researchers from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center compared their energy expenditure while resting and watching television, playing Dance Dance Revolution at two skill levels, playing Wii bowling and boxing, and walking at various speeds on a treadmill.

The video games measured up rather well. Compared with watching TV, boxing, bowling and both levels of DDR had energy expenditure levels that were the same as or more than moderate to intense walking. The kids also burned three times moore calories playing the games than at rest. One interesting note: the Wii games, which rely more on upper than lower body movement, still kicked up the calorie burn.

‘An important feature of exergaming,’ wrote the authors in the study, ‘is the entertainment factor, which may motivate some users more than traditional exercise modes. Active games such as DDR or Wii may offer an alternative to sedentary screen games and could be incorporated into more structured exercise programs as a complement to activities such as walking and cycling.’

-- Jeannine Stein