New generation active computer games may be a great alternative to sedentary games, but they still cannot suffice as a substitute for real sports, cites a new study.
Though it is recommended that young people take moderate to vigorous physical exercise for approximately an hour each day, which uses at least thrice the energy used at rest, many adolescents continue to lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Physical inactivity and obesity has been related to the time spent in front of television and computer screens.
Now, a study conducted by researchers at the Liverpool John Moore's University has compared the energy expenditure of adolescents while playing sedentary and new generation active computer games as the new generation of wireless based computer games meant to stimulate greater interaction and movement during play.
The study included six boys and five girls aged 13-15 years who were a healthy weight, competent at sport and regularly played sedentary computer games.
Each participant practiced playing both the active and inactive games before the study, reports the BMJ.
Participants played four computer games for 15 minutes each while wearing a monitoring device to record energy expenditure, on the day of the study.
They were first made to play on the inactive Project Gotham Racing 3 game (XBOX 360).
After a five minute rest, they played competitive bowling, tennis and boxing matches (Nintendo Wii Sports) for 15 minutes each with a five minute rest between sports.
The total playing time for each child was 60 minutes.
When active gaming was compared with sedentary gaming, energy expenditure was increased by 60 kcal per hour.
However, during active gaming the energy expenditure was much lower than authentic bowling, tennis and boxing, and was not as severe as to contribute towards the recommended amount of daily physical activity for children.
When the researchers examined a typical week of computer play for these participants, it was active instead of passive gaming that would increase total energy expenditure by less than 2pct
The study was published in the Christmas issue of the (BMJ) British Medical Journal.