Playing Games for Childhood Fitness
Among the stereotypes associated with modern parenting is the desire for children to stop playing video games and instead play outside. Unfortunately this is not easy to do when children enjoy the video game more than an outdoor activity, which is why some schools are looking to active video games to help students meet physical activity requirements. Now researchers at George Washington University have completed a first-of-its-kind study concerning this approach by examining how well it works with minority students, which are more common at urban public schools.
Some 104 Washington, D.C. public school students in grades 3 to 8 participated in this study, which randomly assigned them to twenty minutes of regular gym class, twenty minutes playing Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), or twenty minutes of Winds of Orbis: An Active Adventure (Orbis). Researchers monitored the students' energy expenditure levels and found the regular gym class came in first, in that regard. However, students in grades 3 to 5 did achieve the criteria for being vigorous active, so active video games may prove useful in school settings for those lower grades, but not higher.
The study lined up with previous research that show as children grow older their physical activity drops, and the active games did not help counter that. Although the researchers did discover that Orbis was more successful at expending energy than DDR. The researchers believe this may be related to its play-style, which allows players to set the pace, instead of having to match a song like in DDR.