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September 1, 2008

Energy Expenditure and Cardiovascular Responses to Seated and Active Gaming in Children

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Institute of Human Performance, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(9):886-891. doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.9.886

Objective  To examine energy expenditure and cardiovascular responses in children during seated and active gaming.

Design  Comparison study.

Setting  Children's Exercise Laboratory, University of Hong Kong.

Participants  Eighteen children (aged 6-12 years) recruited from local primary schools.

Main Exposure  Active and seated computer games played by all participants.

Main Outcome Measures  Resting energy expenditure and heart rate measured before gaming, during seated gaming, and during use of 2 active gaming formats (XaviX bowling and XaviX J-Mat; SSD Company Ltd, Shiga, Japan). We used repeated-measures analyses of variance to compare the outcome measures.

Results  The energy expenditure was significantly higher during seated gaming (mean [SD], 1.31 [0.19] kcal/min−1; P < .001), XaviX bowling (1.89 [0.45] kcal/min−1; P < .001), and XaviX J-Mat gaming (5.23 [1.63] kcal/min−1; P < .001) compared with rest. The energy expended above rest was significantly higher for the 2 active gaming formats (P < .001 for both) compared with seated gaming. The heart rate was significantly higher during XaviX bowling (mean [SD, ]102 [20] beats/min−1; P < .001) and XaviX J-Mat gaming (160 [20] beats/min−1; P < .001) compared with rest. Heart rate during the XaviX J-Mat gaming was significantly higher than during seated gaming (P < .001).

Conclusions  This study has shown that using active gaming media results in meaningful increases in energy expenditure and heart rate compared with the seated screen environment. Manipulating the gaming environment can provide children with appealing activity alternatives, and further development of “exertainment” interventions is warranted, in particular determination of sustainability.