Active Video Games May Not Increase Activity in Children

(HealthDay News) – Receiving active video games does not increase children’s physical activity levels compared with receiving inactive video games, according to a study published online Feb. 27 in Pediatrics.

Tom Baranowski, PhD, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues randomly assigned children to receive two active or two inactive video games, the peripherals needed to run the games, and a Wii console. The participants, aged 9–12 years, had a body mass index (BMI) >50th percentile but <99th percentile and had no medical condition that would preclude physical activity or playing video games. Physical activity was monitored using accelerometers for five weeks. Neighborhood safety was evaluated with a 12-item validated questionnaire.

The researchers found no evidence that children receiving the active video games were more active in general, or at any time, than children receiving the inactive video games. The outcomes were not altered by parent perception of neighborhood safety, child BMI score, or other demographic characteristics.

“These results provide no reason to believe that simply acquiring an active video game under naturalistic circumstances provides a public health benefit to children,” the authors write.

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