Researchers evaluated the effect of six forms of so-called “exergaming” on energy expenditure in 39 children of various body-mass indexes (BMIs) at a youth fitness research and training centre in America.
The children, whose average age was between 11 and 12 years, had their metabolic rates measured after walking on a treadmill at 3 miles per hour and after 10 minutes on each of six exergames. The digital games included home and commercial versions such as Dance Dance Revolution, Nintendo Wii Boxing, LightSpace Bug Invasion, and Cybex Trazer Goalie Wars, Xavix J-Mat and Sportwall.
It was found that children with higher BMIs – which included 21 children who were either overweight or at risk of becoming overweight – enjoyed the exergames more than children of normal weight, though all of them expended similar amounts of energy. The exergames produced a fourfold to eightfold increase in energy use compared to resting and four of the six games tested resulted in higher energy expenditure.
The results show that exergaming has the potential to increase physical activity and have a favorable influence on energy balance, and may be a viable alternative to traditional fitness activities for children.