Exergaming may counteract children's sedentary behaviors

May 20, 2013 at 8:21 PM
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PERTH, Australia, May 20 (UPI) -- Exergaming, active console video games that track player movement to control the game, may counteract kid sedentary behaviors, Australian researchers say.

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."

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