Study: Activity-based games fight obesity

Mayo Clinic researchers put into perspective the amount of extra calories burned by children playing Dance Dance Revolution or EyeToy games.

It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that playing a heated game of Dance Dance Revolution will burn more calories than sitting on the couch with a controller in hand. However, Mayo Clinic obesity researcher Lorraine Lanningham-Foster wanted to find out exactly how much more energy dancing games require, and her findings were recently published in the medical journal Pediatrics.

"In this day and time, children really love to play video games," Lanningham-Foster told GameSpot. "And even though we might want children to be outside and engaged in more traditional children's play, I don't think that children are going to abandon video games anytime soon...It's important to look at it this way because video gaming may potentially be a better way for obesity researchers to develop better interventions for children."

Led by Lanningham-Foster, a group of researchers measured the amount of energy expended by 25 children (10 of them mildly obese) in five states of activity. The children were tested sitting while watching television, sitting and playing a traditional game, playing two different types of games that require activity, and then walking on a treadmill at 1.5 miles per hour while watching television. The traditional game was Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure on the PlayStation 2, while the games requiring activity were the EyeToy-compatible Nicktoons Movin' on the PS2 and Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 2 on the Xbox.

The researchers found that children that watched television and played a traditional game used the same amount of energy, while those that played the Jellyfish Jam game on Nicktoons Movin' tripled the calories burned. However, the obese children used five times as much energy as they had when playing a traditional game. For both groups, the most energy-intensive of the activities studied turned out to be Dance Dance Revolution, with the obese children burning six times the calories of sitting still while playing the song "Samba" on speed setting 3 in the game's training mode.

"Activity-promoting video games have the potential to increase energy expenditure in children to a degree similar to that of traditional playtime," the researchers concluded, adding, "We think that converting seat-based screen time to activity-associated screen time is an essential approach for promoting an active environment that is also fun for children."

The study was completed months before Nintendo released its activity-oriented Wii, so Lanningham-Foster and her team couldn't include it in this round of research. However, she said she's fascinated by the system.

"I haven't had a chance to do some studies with it, but it's something I'd love to have the opportunity to do," Lanningham-Foster said. "The technology there is actually quite similar to some of the technology we use to monitor physical activity in children."

The researchers acknowledged that the study group used was small, but they consider the findings sufficient to warrant further studies in randomized trials.

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Discussion

94 comments
_Sam_
_Sam_

One of the reasons why a lot of parents will want to get their kid a wii ;)

rl_41
rl_41

Yes, I agree, moving does burn calories. There are other forms of moving that burn much more calories at once, like running, sports, weightlifting etc. but you can play your eyetoy and DDR instead...

GANGSTA287
GANGSTA287

that doesn't mean because you own a Wii you can double your calorie intake...

shasam712
shasam712

Did you know that running has a similar effect? I KNOW! Insane...

Zweihanderhero
Zweihanderhero

In other news: - Earthquakes the world over as fat people play more DDR in hopes of losing weight - Captain Obvious says "Breathing keeps you living". Thousands breathe a sigh of relief Honestly,they needed a study to find out what was already obvious?Cripes,if they want to get rid of their money so much, i'll be happy to take it!

DO646260
DO646260

Okassar has a terrible point... I may be fat, but that doesn't mean its my fault... I also own a Wii and know for a fact that it burns lots of calories... Okassar, bring yer skinny self over and we see who lasts longer playing a calorie burning game!

mainewha
mainewha

All the more reason to get better at DDR LOL!

okassar
okassar

You have to really get into a game for like 2 hours to actually burn something....I would rather work on a treadmill for 1 hour and then game time,I'm glad I'm skinny lol,if someone's fat,its their fault and they should do something about it,more preferibly a hardcore workout,but if they're lazy,ddr is the way to go.In the meantime,their's a higher chance of an earthquake in California.

Sharvie
Sharvie

They could be called Fat Fighter Games

umbracascade
umbracascade

You could potentially burn a lot of calories with the wii, if you want to... dumbell lifts and hula hooping??? lol...

Zigmond1
Zigmond1

I just did an important study, about 5 seconds of research and came to the conclusion that playing video games might make someone fat. Just like the person who researched this i want to get paid!

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

RE:R3DN1N3 You may not be fat. However, that doesn't mean right away your not healthy. Looks like to me, you don't seem to be in shape.

R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

You wanna know what keeps me in shape?! Starvation! I'll go on a gaming marathon (oblivion) for hours on end and keep myself from eating, drinking, showering and all the stuff ppl do to survive. Just before I pass out I'll scarf a turkey sandwich lol. It works!

undox
undox

They forgot Wii Boxing. That is making people get two things--exercise and heart attacks.

Gamer443
Gamer443

konami make more DDR!!!!!!!!!!

psychojakrabbit
psychojakrabbit

Who would have guessed that if you exercise that you would lose weight, Batman. Yes, I know Robin stupid people always amaze me.

GreenGoblin2099
GreenGoblin2099

Do you think someone could be interested on supporting my research with funds?? I'm trying to investigate if videogames entertain ppl... need lots of money to buy 360's Wiis and PS3's games for my reasearch subjects.

ShadowDeathX
ShadowDeathX

I didnt read this but, GOOD. Now 70% of the American pop. will start losing weight. Maybe then we wont be the dam fatest nation on EARTH. I always tell FAT people(70% of the American pop) to lose weight.

Jenuma
Jenuma

This has come up hundreds of times. These games help gamers burn more calories, but it isn't just video games making people fat.

Klaxor
Klaxor

... Studies show that studies show things.

hunter8man
hunter8man

Wow. Money being spent on a research study that was already common sense.

GreenGoblin2099
GreenGoblin2099

Hahahahaha!!! hey chubs, have you ever heard of something called "exercise"?? lol

player_leo
player_leo

So get off your butt and DANCE !!

szindragon
szindragon

I remember a promo video for DDR that I saw at EB or Gamestop. I remember seeing that really fat white boy getting his groove on. I wonder what he looks like now. Probably like Fat Bastard at the end of Goldmember!

wild_world_girl
wild_world_girl

Yet another lame article title from GS. I was prepared to write "duh" when the first sentence of the article explained that this was a study to quantify effects, not to determine if exercise fought obesity.

ldonyo
ldonyo

I'm waiting for the first cases of Wii elbow and Wii wrist to show up, followed shortly by lawsuits blaming Nintendo for the injuries.

GrayHalo
GrayHalo

axillia they said at the beginning of the article they knew it would burn more calories, the point of the study was to find out how much was burned and if it was a viable way for children to get exercise

axillia
axillia

Someone actually did a study on this and got paid for it? Isn't this old news? Exercise burns more calories than sitting on a couch, duh.

GTCzeero
GTCzeero

Exercise burns more calories than just sitting there. Isn't that just a little bit obvious?

princeofgames90
princeofgames90

Saw DDR burns fat well i dont think i need some one to tell me that

Words_of_Ivory
Words_of_Ivory

"Activity based games fight obescity". Obviously. Any sort of strenuous activity helps combat obescity. Why the fact that a game that requires you to be active can do this also is news-worthy is beyond me...

Axe_336
Axe_336

Crazy Hiker, thats a treadmill going 1.5 MPH. Jumping up and down will burn more calories than walking that pace. Anyway, having gotten sweaty from many a game of DDR, I can say that this was a pretty obvious study.

Sheiko
Sheiko

Fun although needs more games. Definitely true though. Can't wait to see a Wii based game.

crazy-hiker-49
crazy-hiker-49

wait a minute here... I burn more calories playing DDR than I do on a treadmill?! this explains some things.

iluvchris
iluvchris

I can see Nintendo comin out with a DDR game... sensors on all 4 extremeties... making america less obese one child at a time!

hirogen
hirogen

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

thefjk
thefjk

Couch, dance mat, couch, dance mat, couch, dance mmm, couuuuch!

Homsar13
Homsar13

i love Dance Dance Revolution =]

lithus
lithus

What people don't understand is that with excercise, a proper diet plays a key role. You can't have one and not the other. Just playing a few sessions of DDR and than later munching down on Cheetos isn't going to solve the obesity problem. Fact: The human body is designed to adapt. After doing the same repititious activity over a period of time, DDR for example, the body eventually adjusts and no longer requires the same amount of effort. This is called the "Plateau" in the excerise world. Unless you constantly ramp up the excercise and stick to a healthy diet, playing all the DDR in the world isn't going to make the fat kid into the lean athlete.

aldrenar47
aldrenar47

Hey guys I just did some research and it turns out that ALL activities involving movement help fight obesity! WOW! /sarcasm

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

I am almost interested in what the results for a few really good games of Wii Sports Tennis or Boxing would do.

yyr
yyr

OK, so they played what I can only assume is Baile Le Samba in Training Mode, probably on Light, and burned six times the calories as someone just sitting there. That's all well and good, but I'd like to know how much more energy someone can burn playing a set of ten-footers, or some solid 8s and 9s on Double mode!

robfield
robfield

Why are they observing what only takes common sense to know? They get paid to do this?

2deluxe
2deluxe

The children would lose more weight if they play Pump it up, on Nightmare.

Capouel123
Capouel123

Well....its kinda obvious! Its not like there sitting on their couch playing Gears of War like....me