CONDITIONS A-Z

Health Tip: Play the (Real) Game

Football_KidsThe advent of active computer games may seem like a godsend to parents and others concerned about the lack of activity today’s teens achieve. However, while these new wireless games expend more energy than traditional sedentary computer games, they’re no substitute for the real thing.

Researchers at Liverpool’s John Moore’s hospital in the UK compared the energy used by adolescents playing both sedentary and active computer games. Bowling, tennis and boxing on the Nintendo Wii Sports used an extra 60 kilocalories per hour, compared to Project Gotham Racing £ on the X box 360

However this was still only an infinitely small fraction when compared to real bowling, tennis and boxing. Active gaming was not intense enough to contribute towards the recommended amount of daily physical activity for children.

Replacing passive with active gaming increased the total energy expenditure by kids by less than 2%. This means that while the games are undoubtedly a lot of fun, they still need to be considered computer time rather than physical activity.

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