By Carolyn Crist / Reuters Health
Video games with a component of physical activity could help small children do more exercise during the school day, suggests a small study.
Also called "exergaming", popular games like "Just Dance for Kids" and "Nickelodeon Fit" make the kids move while they play. The current study found that, compared to pre-school children who played in traditional retreats, those who played exergames achieved significantly more physical activity.
"Regular participation in physical activity plays a crucial role in the prevention and braking of childhood obesity among young children," said study leader Zan Gao, from the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis.
The prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States has increased from 6.5% to 17% in the last three decades, partly due to low physical activity, his team writes in the Journal of Sport and Health Science.
"Unfortunately, most preschoolers offer little opportunities for children to participate in programs of structural physical activity and few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific physical activity interventions in this group of # 39; age, "he told Reuters Health by email.
Gao and colleagues worked with 65 preschoolers from two urban schools in malignant communities in Minneapolis. The children were randomly assigned to two groups. Five days a week, a group made a typical outer retreat for 20 minutes of play, while the exergaming group had 20 minutes of play.
Before and after the eight-week program, the researchers evaluated the amount of vigorous moderate physical activity that children had, as well as their motor skills and their confidence in their own ability to perform certain activities duties.
The exergaming group gained more moderate physical activity vigorously during the program that the recess group. In general, the boys had more activity in exergirlos than girls.
Motor skills and confidence also increased in the exergaming group at the end of the program, although the differences in the retreat group were too small to rule out the possibility that they should be at random.
"We have to recognize that children have the right to play and ensure that they have physical spaces that offer the opportunity of a creative and unstructured exploration," said Lisa Barnett, Deakin University at Melbourne, Australia, who did not participate in the study.
Although the results of this study seem promising, many other recent studies show that movement games do not create a sufficient difference to be considered better than winter times, and in many cases, children are They make boredom with the games after several weeks, Barnett said.
"I would say that playing active electronic sports games can be fun, but they are not a substitute for" real "sports and games, Barnett said via email." Parents are encouraged to provide time and opportunity for them Your youngest son plays outside with different sports teams. "
Future studies should measure the enjoyment of children during exergaming versus other types of physical activity and, if they enjoy, it would encourage students to exercise more in later years of school, said Gao. It is also important to examine gender differences and the effects of exergaming in various schools in different locations with different socioeconomic areas, he added.
"Children with preschool age should have at least three hours of physical activity every day, which can be considered 15 minutes for each hour they are awake," said Amanda Staiano, director of the " Pediatric Obesity at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Health Behavior Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
"Finding fun recreational options for young children, especially girls, can lay the foundations for children to become active, competent, and safe during childhood and beyond," he said e-mailed to Staiano, who He was not involved in the current study.