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Exergames not recommended as exercise for children

Updated: 2012-11-27 16:20
( Xinhua)

VANCOUVER - Parents shouldn't consider video "exergames" as a way to help their youngsters be more physically active, an advocate group for children says.

Active Healthy Kids Canada said Monday that video games known as "exergames" are a good way to break up sedentary time but are not as effective as playing real outdoor games or sports.

The group spoke after convening a panel of international researchers to systematically review the best available scientific evidence on the topic.

"The research shows the movement in active video games may get heart rates up briefly but usually not enough to meaningfully contribute to the 60 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity activity children and youth require daily," said Dr. Mark Tremblay, chief science officer of Active Healthy Kids Canada.

"Active video games also don't offer the fresh air, vitamin D, connection with nature and social interactions that come with outdoor active play," Tremblay said.

The group's research also showed that although children find active video games appealing, they don't stick with them as the novelty wears off over time.

Parents can enjoy active video games with their kids and let them play them with their friends but should not confuse "exergames" as a replacement for real physical activity, the organization said.

The group recommended that instead of spending money on active video games as a means of exercise for their children, parents might be better off buying jump ropes, balls, ice skates or other sporting equipment.

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