Active gaming burns more calories, coordination still a concern


A recent Mayo Clinic study may indicate that kids burn significantly more calories while playing active games (e.g., Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 2, Wii Sports) than while engaged in sit-down games. That this conclusion seems obvious is part of the problem.

Parents may now be more content than ever to plop their kids in front of the TV if they perceive that a few hours of active gaming will substitute for necessary exercise. Even if kids, on average, burn twice as many calories while on the dancepad than while button-smashing a gamepad, they're still simply engaged in virtual activity. Wii Sports might be all the rage but "touching a virtual ball is not the same thing as catching a real ball," warns Active Healthy Kids Canada director of development Jennifer Cowie Bonne, "You need those types of [real life] fundamental skills to build a foundation for a lifelong involvement in other types of physical activity." You wouldn't want Junior to grow up throwing baseballs like a pansy, would you?