(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.”