Video games get kids moving

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: February 25th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Want your kids to get up and move? Encourage them to play more video games!

Although they are no substitute for outdoor sports, a recent study has shown that children who play active video games can burn up to four times as many calories as kids who play traditional, seated ones.

New video gaming systems offer an active alternative to sitting on the couch with a controller in hand. Designed to get players up and moving, these games offer a variety of activities, such as tennis, bowling and dancing.

Depending on the game, children’s heart rates can increase from forty to eighty beats per minute, which is equal to walking or jogging.

The study showed that even traditional video games can burn more calories than resting, but not as many as active video games can.

At a time when one out of every five school-aged children and teens are obese, these results are especially helpful. Children who are obese are at risk for a number of health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

Although active video games are probably not the solution to childhood obesity, it’s just another step in encouraging an active lifestyle.

Inevitably, children will play video games. Parents can help by making sure the ones they choose get kids moving.

Nothing can replace being outside and playing sports. But active video games can offer a good alternative, at least on a rainy day.