Active video games may help kids lose weight

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Mar 14 2014 02:07:00 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 15 2014 12:00:00 AM EDT

If you'd like your overweight child to lose a few pounds, you may want to put together a weight-management plan that includes an active gaming system. A recent Australian study found playing active video games, as part of a weight-management program, appear to help overweight children get a little more active and may help them lose weight.

"So, if you're enrolled in a weight management program and using an active gaming system, where you're getting up and moving and getting your heart rate up you're going to be more likely to be more active during that program," said Dr. Sara Lappe (lah-pay), who did not take part in the study but is a Pediatrican at Cleveland Clinic Children's.

Researchers at the University of Queensland, in Australia, studied the effects active gaming systems on 75 overweight or obese children.  The kids were split into two groups and prescribed a 16-week weight-management plan. One plan included use of an active gaming system.

They found that those in the gaming group increased moderate-to-vigorous activity more than 7 minutes per day. There was no change or a decline in physical activity among the kids who participated in a weight management program only. Researchers say active gaming systems appear to help overweight children move more and may aid weight-loss.

Lappe says active gaming is a good start, but getting outside is a better option.

"So, if you're using it and actually getting active, then it can increase your physical activity, but really, in the end, the best thing is to be active, get outside and move away from your screen," she said.

Read more about the study here.

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