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J Pediatr. 2009 Jun;154(6):819-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.01.009. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Activity-promoting video games and increased energy expenditure.

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  • 1Endocrine Research Unit, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.



To test the hypothesis that both children and adults would expend more calories and move more while playing activity-promoting video games compared with sedentary video games.


In this single-group study, 22 healthy children (12 +/- 2 years; 11 male, 11 female) and 20 adults (34 +/- 11 years; 10 male, 10 female) were recruited. Energy expenditure and physical activity were measured while participants were resting, standing, watching television seated, sitting and playing a traditional sedentary video game, and while playing an activity-promoting video game (Nintendo Wii Boxing). Physical activity was measured with accelerometers, and energy expenditure was measured with an indirect calorimeter.


Energy expenditure was significantly greater than all other activities when children or adults played Nintendo Wii (mean increase over resting, 189 +/- 63 kcal/hr, P < .001, and 148 +/- 71 kcal/hr, P < .001, respectively). When examining movement with accelerometry, children moved significantly more than adults (55 +/- 5 arbitrary acceleration units and 23 +/- 2 arbitrary acceleration units, respectively, P < .001) while playing Nintendo Wii.


Activity-promoting video games have the potential to increase movement and energy expenditure in children and adults.

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