Energy expenditure of sedentary screen time compared with active screen time for children

Lorraine Lanningham-Foster, Teresa B. Jensen, Randal C. Foster, Aoife B. Redmond, Brian A. Walker, Dieter Heinz, James A. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

274 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. We examined the effect of activity-enhancing screen devices on children's energy expenditure compared with performing the same activities while seated. Our hypothesis was that energy expenditure would be significantly greater when children played activity-promoting video games, compared with sedentary video games. METHODS. Energy expenditure was measured for 25 children aged 8 to 12 years, 15 of whom were lean, while they were watching television seated, playing a traditional video game seated, watching television while walking on a treadmill at 1.5 miles per hour, and playing activity-promoting video games. RESULTS. Watching television and playing video games while seated increased energy expenditure by 20 ± 13% and 22 ± 12% above resting values, respectively. When subjects were walking on the treadmill and watching television, energy expenditure increased by 138 ± 40% over resting values. For the activity-promoting video games, energy expenditure increased by 108 ± 40% with the EyeToy (Sony Computer Entertainment) and by 172 ± 68% with Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 2 (Konami Digital Entertainment). CONCLUSIONS. Energy expenditure more than doubles when sedentary screen time is converted to active screen time. Such interventions might be considered for obesity prevention and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1831-e1835
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Television
  • Video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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