Gymkit, towel …video console?

A recent study by the University of Tennessee suggests that active video games may be a suitable source of moderate physical activity for kids, who according to guidelines should undertake an hour of such activity daily. In a world where children are increasingly transfixed with technology it may be of some reassurance to parents that their kids’ screen time may not be entirely without its physical benefits.

The study, published in the Games for Health Journal, compared the amount of energy expended while playing active video games to that expended during unstructured outdoor play. Children between the ages of five and eight years participated in a three week trial during which each child engaged in one active video gaming session and one unstructured outdoor playtime. Energy expenditure was measured by recording activity levels through accelerometers placed on the children’s hips and wrists. The results revealed a significant difference between active video gaming and outdoor play, with active video gaming recording a higher energy output than unstructured outdoor play.

In light of this result the study concluded that video games which wholly engage a child’s body can be an appropriate source of physical activity for younger children. According to Hollie Rayner, director of the University’s Healthy Eating and Activity Laboratory, ‘video games should not replace outdoor play, but there are better choices people can make when choosing video games for their children.’

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Source: Games for Health Journal