Active Video Games No Solution to Childhood Obesity

Maggie Fox
National Journal

Don't look to the Wii to slim down your kid. Video games designed to get kids moving don’t add to their overall physical activity, researchers reported on Monday.

The children either have found a way to trick the systems into thinking they are moving around, or they make up for the exercise by vegging out more later, the team at Baylor College of Medicine reported in the journal Pediatrics.

“It doesn’t appear that there’s any public-health value to having active video games available in stores – 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,” said Dr. Tom Baranowski, whose team studied 78 kids given Wiis to play on.

“It’s not clear whether those in the study group were more active as a result of the video games but compensated by being less active later in the day or if they found a way to manipulate the instruments to minimize the amount of physical activity,” Baranowski added.

Other studies have shown that such video games can increase activity among older adults, especially in senior living centers.