Active Video Games Require More Energy to Play

Energy expenditures are greater for Nintendo's Wii system than for Microsoft's Xbox

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The newer generation of video games, in which players move in simulated sports activities, require significantly greater expenditures of energy than passive video games, researchers report in the Dec. 22 issue of BMJ.

Lee Graves, of the Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, United Kingdom, and colleagues recruited five girls and six boys, aged 13 to 15, to play an active video game system (Wii Sports by Nintendo) and a sedentary video game system (Xbox 360 by Microsoft) while monitored by an intelligent device for energy expenditure and activity system. Participants were proficient in sports and were given an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the games before the trial. Games included in the Wii Sports activity included tennis, bowling and boxing.

Energy expenditures during active gaming were at least 51 percent greater than during sedentary gaming. During a typical week of video game playing, active gaming would increase total energy expenditure over passive gaming by less than 2 percent. Boys expended more energy than girls during active game-playing, although the difference was significant only during the tennis game.

The authors note that although the overall increase in energy expenditures with the active games were minor, they did require movement. "Given the current prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity, such positive behaviors should be encouraged," they write.

This study was funded by Cake, the marketing arm of Nintendo U.K.

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