Harnessing Exercise Games To Help Kids (and Parents!) Lose Weight

 

Obese kids may be able to drop weight with the help of an unlikely aid: video games. Special exercise video games helped overweight children drop pounds – and improve their cholesterol and blood pressure – while they were having fun, in a study reported in Pediatric Obesity.”

by Linda Carroll, Reuters, July 31 2018

Summary

With the growing issue of childhood obesity, it’s becoming more and more important of finding ways of motivating kids to get active and stay healthy. In a study by Pediatric Obesity, they found that children who were encouraged to play exercise video games lost weight. Some as much as 4% of their BMI.

The Study’s Findings

A group of 46 families, all with overweight children, were split into two groups. One group was assigned to try achieving an hour of physical activity a day using exercise video games. The other was put on a waiting list and didn’t take any action. After 6 months, the group who used the exercise games had lost weight at an average of 4% of their BMI, while the other group had gained weight. While they weren’t the focus of the study, the parents of the children also experienced weight loss. There is an element  self fulfilling prophecy to this study. Giving the children goals and support would likely help them lose weight even without exercise games being involved. However, the advice is still very good! Instead of trying to change what kids are interested in, it’s better to harness it to help motivate them. When physical activity becomes a normal part of their lifestyle, children are likely to maintain it as they grow into healthy adults.

Quality Exercise Game Resources

These days, almost everyone has a smart phone, especially young people. If you’re looking for apps to help turn exercise into a game for children or yourself, there are plenty of great choices to consider.

Pokemon has been a mega popular franchise with people young and old for over 20 years. Pokemon Gowhile not quite intended for exercise, does encourage you to walk around and explore. The goal, as with every Pokemon title, is to catch them all. You do this by finding them in real world, after which they can be used for battling.

Zombies, Run! is a legitimately cool game that helps motivate you by making you run for your life. In a world in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, you are the last hope for a settlement on the brink of destruction. Zombies, Run! has an immersive audiobook-esque story, where jogging becomes scavenging for supplies and zombie chases become real life sprints to escape them. Intense!  The game is critically acclaimed, with great reviews, awards, and more than a million players. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check out the trailer.

 

Read the original article at Reuters