Kinesthetic electronics, where video games integrate with exercise is a fascinating emerging area, with the technology rapidly improving. You can read the article I wrote for Intelligent Life here.
So, if we are going to allow children ‘screen time’ with their video games on the condition that exercise is a feature of the game, then where is the science to support the claim that more energy is being expended? Well here’s a start. The US-based Mayo Clinic has just completed a small-scale trial comparing the energy expenditure of lean and mildly obese children whilst they were watching television and using a range of physical activity oriented video games. Energy expenditure went up six-fold in the mildly obese group when using an interactive dance mat compared to passively watching TV. The research is a start and I am sure more will follow.
If several hours of daily ‘screen time’ for children are now inevitable, at least we should encourage games where kids have to move.