A study published online by the journal Pediatrics finds that exergaming -in this case DDR and Wii Sports' bowling and boxing - provide as much or more activity than a brisk or intense walking pace.
What's more, the study's authors were surprised to find the Wii Sports games, which rely almost solely on upper-body motion, still provided a good enough calorie burn. I guess they hadn't played the home run derby, which still whips my arse every time.
Researchers at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences centre conducted the study, looking at 23 boys and girls ages 10 to 13. They examined the kids' energy expenditure at rest and while watching TV, then playing Dance Dance Revolution at two skill levels, then Wii Sports bowling and boxing, and then walking at various speeds on a treadmill.
Unsurprisingly, kids burned three times more calories playing the games than watching TV. The researchers were impressed enough to recommend "active games such as DDR or Wii" as "a complement to activities such as walking or cycling."
Of course, anyone who's gone 3 rounds in Wii boxing and ended up heaving and sweating already knew this. But it's a top-flight university study in a leading research journal, and the mainstream media's picking up the ball. So for those keeping score on whether we gamers are getting slapped upside the head or patted on it, today I'd say the latter.
Let the Kids Play Video Games - They're Burning Calories [Los Angeles Times]