Research shows Kinect games can assist in keeping children fit

Researchers have found that Kinect games could play a role in fitness

Kinect games that require children to be physically active can increase energy expenditure by up to 236 percent compared to traditional gaming, according to research from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

The research looked at the energy expenditure of 18 school children as they played Dance Central and Kinect Sports Boxing for 15 minutes each. The children's physiological responses (heart rate, oxygen uptake, energy expenditure) were then measured.

It was found that children who played Dance Central increased their energy expenditure by 150 percent and those who play Kinect Sports Boxing increased their expenditure by 263 percent.

The research concluded that regular, active gaming using Kinect could be an effective means of increasing physical activity in children, which could have health benefits.

In an interview with Reuters Health, Jacob Barkley, an exercise science researcher from Kent State University in Ohio (who wasn't involved in the study) said: "If the kids played the games exactly as they played them in this study and they did that for the amount of time they normally play video games, that could be very beneficial.

"I would stop short of saying, ‘Well then just buy your kids the Xbox and they'll lose weight."

"I don't think the (Kinect) games are a good substitute for traditional physical activity," Barkley said. "I do think the games are a good option relative to a sedentary game."

One of the researchers behind the study, Michael Morris, said that moderate activity obviously has its benefits, but the research is only a snapshot into the possible benefits of games.

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