Can a Video Game Help Get Your Kid Active?

   By drodriguez  Mar 06, 2012

With the growing rate of childhood obesity in this country, active video games may seem like the perfect fix for kids who would rather sit in front of the television than play sports. But a recent study shows that video games that encourage movement may not be as effective as we’d like to think.

The study, released in the journal Pediatrics and reported about in the Los Angeles Times, suggests that having active video games available to the kids in your home may not actually help your kids get active and healthy.

The children involved in the study were divided into two groups with one group given two active video games to use over a period of 13 weeks and the other were allowed inactive video games. The children were not told how long and often they should play the games. The children’s activity was measured throughout the 13 weeks and in the end there was no difference in levels of activity noted in either group.

The allure of the active game seems to be the hope that kids will somehow be tricked into exercising because after all it’s a video game, right? Author of the study, Tom Baranowski explains, “Simply having those active video games available on the shelf or at home doesn’t automatically lead to increased levels of physical activity in children.” Chances are, if a child is not used to being active they will probably need more incentive and encouragement than a video game alone.

What do you think of the study that shows active video games don’t really get kids active?

Tell us what types of activities your kids do to stay active and healthy!

Make a Comment

couponing4bmx by couponing4bmx | LAKEWOOD, CA
Mar 20, 2012

I have six kids and generally like most other kids they love to play video games. I dont like them being in that moment for long period of time. I take them outside to play. We are an active family who rides our bike a lot. They do bmx and go to races. As a parent, video games is not a substitute to make your kids active at home. Simple household chore is the best way of them to get involved and active.

seaburn32 by seaburn32 | DuPont, WA
Mar 18, 2012

What happened to getting outside and playing games, going for walks/hikes, and bike rides? Seriously, I absolutely hate that kids spend most of their days inside! While I have several game consoles, my family rarely plays them. While video games can play a small role in why kids don't exercise, the number one main reason kids are unhealthy is.... their parents are unhealthy!!! I don't know why parents look so surprised that their kids are overweight, when they are themselves..... ok, I'll get off my soap box now.

jenni24 by jenni24 | GLENDALE, AZ
Mar 09, 2012

In my family video games and other similar technologies are very much a part of our lives. I myself am an avid player . i don't believe that an active video game will miraculously make your child more active. I do however believe they're a great fun way to be active alone or as a family. i personally think it is the parents job to monitor their children's video games active or not. you can't depend on the video game alone but can encourage your children to try it out and have fun!

heavenly41 by heavenly41 | PORTLAND, OR
Mar 06, 2012

I believe so, with games like Fruit Ninja and Dance Central, etc. If on a day they can't be outside it does give them a good time and lots of exercise. Of course this is my personal opinion.