why aren't physical video games, from Dance Dance Revolution to the Wii to the Kinect, helping with this issue?
“Active” video games distributed to homes with children do not produce the increase in physical activity that naïve parents (like me) expected. That’s according to a study undertaken by the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and published early this year in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics...
They found “no evidence that children receiving the active video games were more active in general, or at any time, than children receiving the inactive video games.”
How is it possible that children who play active video games do not emerge well ahead in physical activity? One of the authors of the Pediatrics article, Anthony Barnett, an exercise physiologist who is a consultant at the University of Hong Kong, explains that the phenomenon is well known in the field.
“When you prescribe increased physical activity, overall activity remains the same because the subjects compensate by reducing other physical activities during the day,” he says.
Changing sedentary behavior is extremely difficult, says Dr. Charles T. Cappetta, an executive committee member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. “It may seem that active video games are an easy solution to getting kids off the couch,” he says. “But as this study and others show, they do no such thing...”
For physical activity that brings measurable health benefits, kids need things like real balls, real rackets and real courts.
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