Childhood Obesity Statistics: Can the Xbox Kinect Help?

I’ve addressed the chemical and dietary aspects of childhood obesity statistics. Clearly, though, exercise plays a role as well. Could technology help obese kids?

It’s a dream that every kid has. The parents condoning the use of video games. In the past, this really hasn’t been an option due to the inherently sedentary nature of video game playing.

But that has been changing.  It started with the Nintendo Wi and has moved forward with the Playstation move and the Xbox Kinect. If you’ve never played these games before, they vary from sitting on the couch swishing around the controller to all out physical activity with games like Just Dance, Kinect Sports, Fighters Uncaged or Kinect Adventures.

These games can really help you break a sweat. But just how much?

This particular study was designed to answer just that question.

Researchers looked at the calories burned while a small group of kids aged 11-15 played two different Xbox Kinect games for 15 minutes: Dance Central and Kinect Sports Boxing.  Here are the findings:

  1. Heart rate, oxygen uptake, and energy expenditure were considerably higher with these games.
  2. The Dance Central increased calorie burning by 150%.
  3. The Boxing increased calorie burning by 263%.

Not too shaby for something the kids may actually enjoy and can be done year round, regardless of hot or cold temps. AND, to top it all off, this is clearly something you can do as a family. Many of the games, like Kinect Adventures, allows you to compete against one another. We break the family into two teams for some nice competitive fun.

Incidentally, this is not the first study to look at what might happen in a household that uses these types of games. In May of 2011 a study looked at the weight of children who were given a Wii system instead of their normal, sedentary-type video games and found definate improvements in 6 months.

If you have played the Xbox Kinect before, what games did your family really seem to like and helped everyone get more exercise?


James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.