Active video games do NOT result in more exercise for kids

Color me very surprised by this, but the Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reports, “A study finds that having active video games in the home may not translate into more exercise.”

The study, released in the journal Pediatrics, tested video games among 78 children ages nine to 12 with a body mass index between the 50th and the 99th percentile, a group considered at risk for adult obesity.

Researchers found “no differences in levels of physical activity” between children who chose “two active video games over 13 weeks” and children who “chose two inactive videos over 13 weeks.”

The National Journal reports, however, that “other studies have shown that such video games can increase activity among older adults, especially in senior living centers.”

MedPage Today reports, “Kids’ gaming diaries and console records all pointed to substantial use of the active video games, at about half an hour a day in the first week, then dropping to only about eight minutes a day by the end of the study. But physical activity monitored with accelerometers in the first week, then in the middle of the study period at weeks six and seven, then at the end in week 12 showed no difference between groups overall or at any point.”

The study was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute.

“Researchers say the children either opted not to play the active games at the same level of intensity as in the lab studies or they chose to be less active at other times of the day to compensate for the increased activity,” according to WebMD.

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