Activity-Promoting Video Games and Increased Energy Expenditure

Lorraine Lanningham-Foster, Randal C. Foster, Shelly K. McCrady, Teresa B. Jensen, Naim Mitre, James A. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


Objectives: To test the hypothesis that both children and adults would expend more calories and move more while playing activity-promoting video games compared with sedentary video games. Study design: In this single-group study, 22 healthy children (12 ± 2 years; 11 male, 11 female) and 20 adults (34 ± 11 years; 10 male, 10 female) were recruited. Energy expenditure and physical activity were measured while participants were resting, standing, watching television seated, sitting and playing a traditional sedentary video game, and while playing an activity-promoting video game (Nintendo Wii Boxing). Physical activity was measured with accelerometers, and energy expenditure was measured with an indirect calorimeter. Results: Energy expenditure was significantly greater than all other activities when children or adults played Nintendo Wii (mean increase over resting, 189 ± 63 kcal/hr, P < .001, and 148 ± 71 kcal/hr, P < .001, respectively). When examining movement with accelerometry, children moved significantly more than adults (55 ± 5 arbitrary acceleration units and 23 ± 2 arbitrary acceleration units, respectively, P < .001) while playing Nintendo Wii. Conclusion: Activity-promoting video games have the potential to increase movement and energy expenditure in children and adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-823
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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