Video games can help kids lose weight

Parents hear all the time about the risks of too much video gaming -- but as Dr. Eliana Perrin reports to Time Warner Cable News, more studies are showing benefits to interactive video games as fitness made fun. (Sssssh! Don't tell the kids.)

Video games can help kids lose weight click to enlarge Dr. Eliana Perrin

With obesity on the rise among children, exercise is a key component to getting weight under control. Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH, a leading authority in the prevention of obesity in children who conducts her research out of the UNC Department of Pediatrics, knows that convincing kids exercise is fun is an important task. And she's read studies that show a link between interactive video games and weight loss.

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Nothing can take the place of outdoor games and playtime.
"We need to meet children where they're at, and there are a lot of children playing video games right now," comments Perrin. "Instead of thinking about it as exercise, they're just having fun," she adds. 
 

The Time Warner Cable News story cites a 2014 JAMA Pediatrics study that demonstrated the effectiveness of active video gaming in helping children lose weight. Of 75 kids put on a weight loss program, the group that received an interactive video game increased their level of exercise and lost an average of 4 pounds of body fat over a year's time, while members of the control group, who did not get a video game, didn't show a significant change in time spent exercising or weight loss.

Although this is great news for kids and parents throughout the U.S., where childhood obesity is a growing problem, Dr. Perrin cautions that the obesity epidemic won't be won in front of a television or computer screen.

"Nothing can replace the value of outdoor games or playtime," cautions Perrin.

At a time when one in three U.S. children is overweight or obese, Dr. Perrin has dedicated her research pursuits to helping fellow pediatricians and parents "tip the scales" in a healthier direction.

See the Time-Warner Cable News report here.

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