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Video games requiring physical activity shown to appeal to youngsters
10.02.2012So-called "exergames" - console-based video games that involve synchronized dancing or waving an electronic baton-like controller - could have multiple health benefits for children and teenagers, according to findings appearing in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers from the University of Montreal (UM) based these findings on more than 1,200 teenagers over 14 years old. After the study participants filled out surveys regarding which games they played and how frequently, it was revealed that the largest group of exergame enthusiasts were women who were self-conscious about their weight, and wanted to shed a few pounds without the perceived embarrassment of working out in public.
The UM scientists find the prevalence of exergaming significant because, by their estimation, under 15 percent of kids and teens are as physically active as they should be. Meanwhile, as is the case in most developed countries, the rate of childhood overweight and obesity in Canada has risen exponentially during the last 30 years, and is currently more than 30 percent. Kids with weight problems are more likely to, later in life, need urgent medical care for conditions such as heart attack and stroke from emergency department physicians.
"Factors such as competitions, new consoles, multiplayer modes and contact with other players via the Internet could improve participation," said the study's lead author Jennifer O'Loughlin from the UM Department of Social and Preventative Medicine. "Additionally, the feasibility of exergaming in community centers or at school should be tested."
However, in a follow-up report by Fox News, O'Loughlin cautioned against parents relying too heavily on exergaming for the children's physical fitness.
"I would never say this should replace regular physical activity," she said to the news source. "Kids should still be going outside and playing and getting exercise."
News source points to the most effective exergames
With consideration to new research on exergaming, The Huffington Post compiled its top six physical activity-based video games for those looking for weight-loss results.
Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), where players' score is based on how quickly and precisely they can move their legs and feet, is said to be the best calorie-burner. Following DDR are games specifically designed for home exercise, such as Wii Fit and Sports Champions. The new source rounds out its list with Kinect Adventures and WarioWare Smooth Moves.
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