Study Finds Active Video Games Can Make Kids Healthier


Kids of the world, you finally have science backing your video game binges. The new phrase from doctors may be a video game a day will keep the doctor away.

Now that the hype that video games make children violent has dissipated. The next barrier to break through is that video games make kids fat. New research is showing that including active video gaming in a 16-week pediatric obesity intervention program resulted in significant physical activity and weight loss in obese children.

The Study

Children 8 to 12, enrolled in JOIN for ME, a pediatric weight-managment program developed by UnitedHealth Group.

The 16-week program had half the kids doing the program as usual. The other half recieved Microsoft’s Xbox 360 concoles with Kinect. The ones with the Xbox 360 also received two active video games. One at the beginning and the other halfway through the trial.

What Happened?

Those children who received the Xbox 360 with Kinect significantly increased their physical activity by 7.5 minutes a day. This was all moderate-to-vigorous activity. They ended up being active much longer than those participants who didn’t get an Xbox.

The children who received a gaming console saw a result greater reduction in weight and body mass index (BMI) percentile. Video games basically doubled the effectiveness of the program.

“Given the popularity of video games, it is valuable to see how active video games in an evidence-based weight-management program can help make a positive impact on our national childhood obesity crisis,” says Deneen Vojta, M.D., a physician executive at UnitedHealth Group and one of the study’s principal investigators.

One 12-year-old named Ravyn Hill, lost 8 pounds during the four-month program. It took his BMI from the 97th to the 90th percentile.

Currently about one-third of all American children are obese and overweight. Maybe these parents need to care more about their children and buy them some video games.

Post by Jacob Huff

Twitter: @JacobDHuff

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