High-intensity Active Video Games Could Improve Children's Health

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High-intensity Active Video Games Could Improve Children's Health

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Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 9:00am

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There has been a lot of news lately about the negative health effects of how watching too much television or playing too many video games can affect children's mental and physical health. Excessive exposure to television is seen as a risk factor for overweight preschool-aged children, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan. The association between total television exposure and the risk of overweight was examined in 1,016 children, selected randomly from ten centres in America. The children were examined at 36 months and again at 54 months. Other studies too, have assessed children's energy expenditure and physical activity while playing active video games. Now, the first study to measure the direct health benefits of high-intensity gaming on children's arteries has been published.

High-intensity, active video games may improve cardiovascular health in children, says a new study published in The Journal of PediatricsResearchers studied the effects of "exergaming" on children. Levels of physical inactivity and obesity are very high in children, with fewer than 50 per cent of primary school-aged boys and fewer than 28 per cent of girls meeting the minimum levels of physical activity required to maintain health. Exergaming, using active console video games that track player movement to control the game such as the Xbox-Kinect and Wii, has become popular, and may provide an alternative form of exercise to counteract sedentary behaviours.

Dr. Louise Naylor and fellow scientists from the University of Western Australia, Liverpool, John Moores University, and Swansea University evaluated 15 children, 9-11 years of age, who participated in 15 minutes each of high intensity exergaming (Kinect Sports the 200m Hurdles), low intensity exergaming (Kinect Sports - Ten Pin Bowling) and a graded exercise test (treadmill). The researchers measured energy expenditure and measured the vascular response to each activity using flow-mediated dilation (FMD), a validated measure of vascular function and health in children.

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.

 
Keywords: Health & Healthcare | Cause Global | Social investment | best practices | social innovation

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