Eat & Move-O-Matic

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Energy expenditure and enjoyment is different by game type

Video game playing is a very popular pastime, on average, in a typical day, 8- to 18-year-olds spend an average of an hour playing video games and have played a variety of video games beyond the traditional sedentary game including games that demand more physical interaction with a game than the simple use of thumbs such as music games which use a non-standard controllers such as the “guitars” used in the game Guitar Hero and exergames, which are video games that include an exercise component like sports or dancing. As a substitute for sedentary video games these different genres of games have the potential to make a difference in the energy expended when playing and in the enjoyment factor.

A study conducted in New Zealand (White, Kilding & Schofield, 2009) found, when comparing the energy expenditure and enjoyment of several Wii games (Bowling, Boxing, Tennis, Skiing and Step Aerobics), a sedentary PS3 game, as well as walking and running, that active video games were consistently ranked as the most enjoyable activities and they resulted in a significantly higher energy expenditure compared to rest. However, Wii Bowling and Boxing were considered the most enjoyable and the sedentary PS3 game had the lowest energy expenditure of all the activities.

A newer study conducted by Lyons et. al. (2011) found, when investigating the differences in energy expenditure and enjoyment across four types of videogames games (shooter, band simulation, dance simulation and fitness), that all games except shooter games significantly increased energy expenditure above rest. Fitness and dance games increased energy expenditure greater than that produced by band simulation, however enjoyment was higher in band simulation games than in all other types.

These kinds of studies have important implications when we think about the long-term impacts of increasing physical activity.

White, K., Kilding, A. E., & Schofield, G. (2009). Energy expenditure and enjoyment during Nintendo Wii active video games: How do they compare to other sedentary and physical activities? (pp. 1-15): Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition (CPAN) AUT University.

Lyons E, Tate D., Ward D., Bowling J., Ribisl K., Kalyararaman S. (2011). Energy expenditure and enjoyment during video game play: Differences by game type. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 43(10), 1987-1993. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318216ebf3

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Funding Information

© 2013. NMSU Board of Regents. All rights reserved. This project was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the National Research Initiative (Grant #2008-55215-18837).

About Us

The Exergames Unlocked project includes a multi-state team of accomplished media education researchers, exercise physiologists, medical professionals and doctoral students. Contributing members are researchers in their fields and have helped launch the use of exergames as tools to combat obesity in their communities and beyond. New Mexico State University researchers and their partners have been funded to research the impact of exergames, develop specific recommendations for exergame use, and implement exergaming programs. As part of that project, this website provides access to resources based on research, sample projects, and input from the exergaming community. For more information, contact the project director: Dr. Barbara Chamberlin, Professor, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service
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Why Exergames Unlocked?

Why Exergames Unlocked? Exergames are videogames that encourage physical activity. Here, you’ll find the best and most effective exergames, as well as strategies and recommendations on using them with different audiences and in different locations.