I know it’s politically incorrect to suggest that kids jump up from a sedentary game of chess and partake in a round of active video game boxing, but the latter activity might burn enough calories to quality as a form of exercise.
That’s the finding of a study published last Monday in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine in which 18 children ages 11 to 15 tried boxing and dancing on Kinect for Microsoft Xbox 360. They found the games increased calorie-burning by 150 percent for Dance Central and 263 percent for Sports Boxing, which burned up to 172 extra calories per hour compared with kids sitting and playing a traditional video game. Kinect burned moderately more calories than the Wii system in previous studies, likely because Kinect involves motion sensors rather than a hand-held controller that limits movements.
The study was funded by the University of Chester, so we don’t have to worry about biased results. But it was small, so results still need to be confirmed with larger studies.
Few American kids, or their British counterparts, get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day because they spend a lot of time playing electronic games. “Although active gaming single-handedly cannot substitute [for] traditional outdoor play . . . it may bridge the gap in the low physical activity levels currently observed,” study author Michael Morris, of the University of Chester, wrote in an e-mail.