Dr. Louise Naylor and researchers from The University of Western Australia, Liverpool John Moores University in England and Swansea University in Wales evaluated 15 children, ages 9-11, who participated in 15 minutes each of high intensity exergaming, Kinect Sports, 200 meter Hurdles; low intensity exergaming, Kinect Sports, Ten Pin Bowling; and a graded exercise test, Treadmill.
The researchers measured energy expenditure. They also measured the vascular response to each activity using flow-mediated dilation, which is a validated measure of vascular function and health in children.
The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, found high intensity exergaming elicited an energy expenditure equivalent to moderate intensity exercise; low intensity exergaming resulted in an energy expenditure equivalent to low intensity exercise.
Additionally, although the low intensity exergaming did not have an impact on flow-mediated dilation, high intensity exergaming significantly decreased flow-mediated dilation, suggesting the latter might improve vascular health in children.
"Higher intensity exergaming may be a good form of activity for children to use to gain long-term and sustained health benefits," Naylor said.
"These findings also support the growing notion that high intensity activity is beneficial for children's health, and high intensity exergaming should be considered a means of encouraging children to become more active."