Among elementary school children, active video games, or “e-games,” can have benefits similar to traditional physical education, suggests a study published online last week in the journal Games for Health.
Researchers studied 104 students in grades 3-8 from a District of Columbia school to see if active video games could help inner-city children meet the federally recommended level of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day.
The students wore an accelerometer to gauge their energy expenditure as they completed three 20-minute sessions of physical activities: a traditional physical education class and two e-games.
Overall, students expended significantly more energy during traditional physical education than they did with video games. But students in grades 3-5 expended enough energy when performing all three activities to meet the guidelines. In grades 6-8, boys’ energy expenditure from the video games was “modest,” but girls barely exerted enough energy in any activity to meet that benchmark.
A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2013 edition of Education Week as Children’s Fitness