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To compare the energy expenditure of adolescent boys while playing the new generation active computer games compared to conventional physical activity for same time periods a descriptive prospective profile study with qualitative and quantitative data collection was undertaken. A comparison of four computer games versus conventional exercise was done using the Body Media SenseWear Pro Armband Monitoring® and heart rate monitors. A sample of 54 adolescent boys volunteered to participate in the study, and all signed a child assent form and parents/guardians signed an informed consent. Participants were fitted with a monitoring device validated to calculate energy expenditure. They played four computer games for 15 minutes each. One of the games was sedentary (XBOX 360) and the other three were active (Wii Sports). All the games were mostly aerobic in nature. Selected fitness tests were administered in order to determine the level of fitness of the group. Predicted energy expenditure was compared using repeated measures analysis of variance. Mean (standard deviation) predicted energy expenditurewhen playing Wii Sports bowling (190.6 (22.2) kJ/kg/min), tennis (202.5 (31.5) kJ/kg/min), and boxing (198.1 (33.9) kJ/kg/min) was significantly greater than when playing sedentary games (125.5 (13.7) kJ/kg/min) (P<0.001). Predicted energy expenditure was at least 65.1 (95% confidence interval 47.3 to 82.9) kJ/kg/min greater when playing active rather than sedentary games. Playing new generation active computer games uses significantly more energy than playing sedentary computer games but not as much energy as being active for the same time. The energy used when playing active Wii Sports games was not of high enough intensity to contribute towards the recommended daily amount of exercise in children, but contributes a percentage of time to the daily recommended activity levels.
Keywords: Wii sports, Body Media Sensewear, energy expenditure, childhood obesity.