Do you or your child play video games? If so, read this…

posted Jun 9, 2011, 9:41 AM by Jeanna Tachiki   [ updated Jun 9, 2011, 10:25 AM ]

Many organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend spending less than 2 hours a day on activities like being on the computer, watching TV, and playing video games.  A new study suggests that trading sedentary activities in for active video games, which require physical interaction with images on the TV, may be beneficial for overweight kids that currently play sedentary video games.

The study looked at 322 overweight 10-14 year olds that currently played 2 hours of sedentary video games.  Half of the kids continued to play sedentary video games. The other half were given an Eye Toy camera, dance mat, and selection of active video games.  After 6 months, researchers found that the active video gamers gained less weight and had small improvements in percent body fat.    

If kids are already into playing video games, then maybe it would be more effective encouraging active ones rather than trying to eliminate them altogether?  Active video games may also be a beneficial option for kids that live in unsafe neighborhoods or live in places with bad weather where playing outdoors is not an option. 

However, active video games are very costly.  Play Station alone costs about $300 and the Nintendo Wii costs around $200.  The Sony Eye Toy camera runs around $30.  Games are usually around $20 and up. 

Image: Arvind Balaraman /

It is recommended for children and adolescents to get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.  If active video games are not a realistic option, below are a few budget friendly tips for increasing physical activity…
·         Take the stairs instead of the elevator (or maybe just start with taking the stairs halfway up and then the elevator the rest of the way)

·         Mow the lawn

·         Wash the car

·         Clean the house

·         Take 2 PE classes

·         Join the Proviso East High School Walking Club or walk with friends

·         Go window shopping at the mall

·         Park farther away in parking lots

·         Go swimming at the community pool

·         Jump rope

·         Join a local sports league or play pickup basketball with friends

·         Find an exercise video/DVD you like (some channels show workouts on TV)

·         Walk in place and do squats while watching TV

·         Go bowling or play mini golf with friends

·         Plant a garden

·         Power walk to and from school

·         Join a sports team at school

·         Walk the dog

·         Dance to your favorite music
·         Take out the trash