Exercise as it relates to Disease/Using active video games to increase physical activity in youth

This is a fact sheet for the journal article 'Active Video Games to Promote Physical Activity in Children and Youth'.[1]

What is the background to this research?Edit

What is physical inactivity? Physical inactivity is a term used to identify people who do not get the recommended level of regular physical activity. The American Heart Association recommends 30–60 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times per week to promote cardiovascular fitness. .[2]

Physical inactivity in youth The physical activity levels of today's preschool-aged children (aged 2–6 years) it is apparent that nearly half of preschool-aged children do not engage in sufficient physical activity. Current recommendations suggest a minimum of 60 min of physical activity per day, only 54% of preschool - aged children are achieving this. Therefore, effective interventions that promote physical activity in children are necessary. .[3]

Why do we need physical activity According to the world health organisation Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally. Increasing physical activity levels has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression.[4] Being physically active also has links to improving mental and musculoskeletal health and reduces other risk factors such as overweight, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.[5]

Where is the research from?Edit

Biddiss and Irwin the two authors of this research are from Canada. The articles of which the data was extracted are from English literature all around the world. Supported by the Natural Sciences and Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

What Kind of research was this?Edit

This was a systematic review of 18 articles from the English-language literature ranging from dates January 1, 1998 to January 1, 2010. These were found on ISI Web of Knowledge, PubMed, and Scholars Portal.

What did the research involve?Edit

The research involved the systematic evaluation of Energy Expenditure during Active Video Gameplay in comparison to Energy Expenditure when playing a sedentary or passive style video game. Data of activity associated with Active Video Gameplay exposure was also collected in this research to determine how effective Active Video Gameplay was in promoting physical activity.

What were the basic results?Edit

Energy expenditure: The research of several individual studies has demonstrated the potential Active Video Game play has on increasing energy expenditure from levels observed during sedentary or passive video games. Active Video Games enable light to moderate activity, similar intensities to brisk walking, skipping, jogging and stair climbing. Across all the studies observed in the research the mean metabolic equivalents of task was measured as 3.3, meaning the average energy expenditure while playing and active video game was 3.3 times the metabolic rate of someone who was at rest.[6]

Patterns of Activity Research summarized the results of several studies that evaluated the potential Active Video Game systems had on physical activity promotion in the home. Preliminary evidence suggests that home play of Active Video Games may provide some moderate increase in physical activity or decrease sedentary time. Long-Term use and efficiency remain unknown, however several studies noted a decrease in Active Video Game play due to technical difficulties meaning the video game systems weren’t very reliable.[7]

How did the researchers interpret the results?Edit

Biddiss and Irwin’s interpretation of their research was that Active Video Games did in fact increase energy expenditure in comparison to passive or sedentary video games, however it was stated that Active Video Games should not be regarded as replacement for vigorous physical activity. The most effective style of Active Video Game play was those that involved lower body movements, For example Konami's Dance Dance Revolution.

What conclusions should be taken away?Edit

Physical Inactivity in children and youth remains a significant health issue likely to be solved through education and structured interventions. With the recent introduction of New-Generation Active Video Games it seems like there is an opportunity to target physical inactivity in youth. Evidence found throughout the research supports Active Video Game play as an enjoyable medium for self-directed light to moderate physical activity.

What are the implications of this research?Edit

Today’s youth are spending more and more time with sedentary style video games, sitting at screens communicating with friends for hours and hours without getting much physical activity into their daily routine, This is where Active Video Games can play a big role in increasing physical activity in youth. Rather than getting rid of video games altogether we can incorporate Active Video Games where the enjoyment, competitive nature and social aspect will still remain but low to moderate intensity exercise will be incorporated and hence become a tool to fight against physical inactivity in youth.[8]


  1. Biddiss, Elaine, and Jennifer Irwin. (2010) 'Active Video Games To Promote Physical Activity In Children And Youth'. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 164(7),PP. 664-672.
  2. New York State department of health.1999. 'Physical Inactivity and Cardiovascular Disease'. Available: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/chronic/cvd.htm
  3. Tucker, Patricia. (2008) 'The Physical Activity Levels Of Preschool-Aged Children: A Systematic Review'. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(4), pp. 547-558.
  4. World Health Organisation. (2015) ‘Physical Activity’. Available: http://www.who.int/topics/physical_activity/en/
  5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2015) ‘Physical Inactivity’. Available: http://www.aihw.gov.au/risk-factors-physical-inactivity/
  6. Biddiss, Elaine, and Jennifer Irwin. (2010) 'Active Video Games To Promote Physical Activity In Children And Youth'. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 164(7),PP. 664-672.
  7. Biddiss, Elaine, and Jennifer Irwin. (2010) 'Active Video Games To Promote Physical Activity In Children And Youth'. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 164(7),PP. 664-672.
  8. Sutter Health. (2014) ‘The Impact of Video Games | Media Information for Parents’. Available: http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/general/media-web/videogames.html