Children Will Get Fit If It's Fun
An independent study at the University of Cumbria found that nine in every ten youngsters want to play video games at the same time as exercising. The games reduce the boredom of exercise.
Fifty children aged 11 and 12 were asked to use exercise equipment combined with video games provided by a company called Gamercize.
The children could play their games only while they maintained movement on the fitness machines. If they stopped exercising, the games paused.
Researcher Jack Tyson said: "The results of this study show that 90% of children like combining video games with exercise.
"Only one in five of these children was achieving the recommended one hour a day of moderate physical activity, while three-quarters of them played video games for more than one hour a day."
Today, the National Obesity Forum hailed the findings.
Clinical director Dr David Haslam said: "Physical inactivity in children is a major cause of the obesity epidemic, and Gamercize provides an innovative solution, reducing sedentary behaviour, whilst maintaining enjoyment, making it a popular and appealing remedy. This study begins to show that by providing more novel opportunities, it is possible to increase a child's activity in a painless and effective way."
Tam Fry, the Forum's board member for children and the Honorary Chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, added: "Ideally children should be running around fields and expending energy naturally, but a lot of children are unable to do this so active gaming brings about energy balance. The key to all this is that children must have fun and the value of Gamercize is that children have a great time using it."
Gamercize equipment has proved popular in schools and homes worldwide.
Derbyshire Sport introduced Gamercize equipment into schools this year.
Steve Smith, the schools sports partnership development manager, said: "We have found Gamercize equipment appeals to all children, helping us to provide additional physical activity in our primary and secondary schools. Gamercize has proved both popular with children and is extremely flexible for PE teachers and school sport competition managers alike."