Can Exercise Games Help Fight Child Obesity?

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videogamesFrom Your Health Journal…..”A great article from the Chicago Tribune by Vicky Hallett via the The Washington Post entitled Can Exercise Games Help Fight Child Obesity? This is a hot topic, and a question I have been asked a lot in various interviews. Let’s start with the current generation of children, who are the technology generation. They are very sedentary, and use technology way too much instead of participating in physical activity. So, what happens when you mix technology with physical activity? It’s called a healthy compromise. I think anything that can get kids up and moving in a safe environment is a positive. Please visit the Tribune site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Todd Miller thinks the only way to solve the childhood obesity crisis in this country is with a revolution. He’s just not sure it should be a “Dance Dance Revolution.”

“DDR,” a video game that requires stomping on arrows to keep up with on-screen choreography, has been touted as a way to win the war on fat — part of a genre of active “exergames” that will teach the next generation the joy of movement.

Although there’s no question that dancing beats chilling on the couch, Miller, an associate professor in the department of exercise science at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, wanted to see whether those arrows could really hit their target: students’ daily activity goals.

So during the 2010-11 school year, Miller and his team visited the nearby Francis-Stevens Education Campus to compare the energy expenditure of D.C. public school students in third through eighth grades in three situations: participating in traditional physical education, keeping up with “DDR” and playing “Winds of Orbis,” a story-driven video game that incorporates running, punching and climbing.

The resulting study, published recently in the journal Games for Health, had positive news about the younger children, who managed to meet the criteria for vigorous-intensity activity with all three options. But the kids in sixth through eighth grades seriously fell behind. Only the boys in physical education measured up to the standard. Girls “barely met the criteria for moderate intensity” in any of the activities.

“Preteen girls are more concerned with how they look. They don’t want to mess up their makeup,” says Miller, who’s pessimistic about there being any way around that issue.

Compounding the problem is how easy it is to slack off with an exergame.

To read the full article…..Click here

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