Exergames Increase Energy Expenditure in All Children

No significant difference in energy utilized by overweight children and healthy-weight peers

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Interactive digital exercise featuring player movement (exergames) successfully elevates energy expenditure to a moderate or vigorous intensity among children with various body mass index (BMI) levels , according to a study published online March 7 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Bruce W. Bailey, Ph.D., of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and Kyle McInnis, Sc.D., of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, examined the energy expenditure among 39 children (mean age, 11.5 years) while playing a variety of exergames, as well as while walking on a treadmill. Energy expenditure, as the mean metabolic equivalent task value, was calculated among children of various BMIs while playing different exergames.

The researchers found that all forms of interactive gaming evaluated increased energy expenditure above rest. There were no significant differences in terms of energy expenditure among the various games for children with normal BMI, or the "at-risk" or overweight children. The mean metabolic equivalent task values were 4.9 for walking on a treadmill at 3 miles per hour, 4.2 for Nintendo Wii, 5.4 for Dance Dance Revolution, 5.9 for Cybex Trazer, 6.4 for LightSpace, 7.0 for Xavix, and 7.1 for Sportwall. Game enjoyment was generally high, with children with the higher BMIs enjoying the games most.

"Although exergaming is most likely not the solution to the epidemic of reduced physical activity in children, it appears to be a potentially innovative strategy that can be used to reduce sedentary time, increase adherence to exercise programs, and promote enjoyment of physical activity," the authors write.

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