Active Video Games Comparable to Exercise for Kids

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Active Video Games Comparable to Exercise for Kids
Active Video Games Comparable to Exercise for Kids

(HealthDay News) — Active video games are a good alternative to sedentary behavior and can provide health benefits comparable to laboratory-based exercise or field-based physical activity, according to research published in Obesity Reviews.

Zan Gao, PhD, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effects of active video games on children and adolescents' health-related outcomes. 

Data were extracted from 35 studies that met inclusion criteria. Comparisons were conducted for outcome measures in three categories: active video games and sedentary behaviors, active video games and laboratory-based exercise and active video games and field-based physical activity.

The researchers found that active video games had a large effect on health outcomes compared with sedentary behaviors. Comparing active video games with laboratory-based exercises, the effect sizes for physiological outcomes were marginal. 

Null to moderate effect sizes were seen in the comparison between active video games and field-based physical activity. Equivalent health benefits were seen for active video games and laboratory-based exercise or field-based physical activity.

"The findings have public health implications that can help inform health care stakeholders regarding [active video games] interventions among children/adolescents," the researchers wrote. 

"Overall, given the fun component embedded in the games, [active video games] are desirable as a promising addition to promote physical activity and health by replacing these sedentary behaviors."

Reference

  1. Gao Z et al. Obes Rev. 2015;doi:10.1111/obr.12287.
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