(HealthDay News) — For children and adolescents, having a television in the bedroom is associated with increased body mass index (BMI), while active video gaming can increase physical activity and weight loss, according to two studies published online March 3 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Diane Gilbert-Diamond, ScD, from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Lebanon, NH, and colleagues surveyed 6,522 10–14-year-olds via telephone to examine the correlation between having a television in the bedroom and change in BMI. After adjustment for multiple confounding variables, including television and movie viewing, video-game playing, and sociodemographics, the researchers found that having a television in the bedroom at baseline correlated with an excess BMI of 0.57 and 0.75 kg/m² at years two and four of follow-up, respectively.

Stewart G. Trost, PhD, from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 75 overweight or obese children (mean age, 10.0 years) to assess the effects of active video gaming. Participants were randomized to receive program and active gaming or program only in addition to family-based weight management. The researchers identified significant increases in moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous physical activity at week 16 in the program and active gaming group, compared with a decrease or no change in activity in the program-only group. Significantly greater reductions in percentage overweight and BMI z scores were seen at week 16 in the program and active gaming group.

“Incorporating active video gaming into an evidence-based pediatric weight management program has positive effects on physical activity and relative weight,” Trost and colleagues write.

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Abstract – Gilbert-Diamond
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Abstract – Trost
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