A new study by researchers from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research has been analyzing the worth of “activity based video games”, revealing increased calorie burning for DDR
players compared to even treadmill walking, and advocating for more such titles.
The research involved children playing Konami dance title Dance Dance Revolution
and other non-traditional games, as well as unnamed titles using a standard controller. It was found that activity based games could burn up to six time more calories than traditional titles.
Led by Mayo obesity researcher Lorraine Lanningham-Foster, Ph.D., a group of researchers measured the amount of energy expended by twenty-five children (ten of them mildly obese) in five states of activity. The results of the research showed that watching television and playing traditional video games expended the same amount of energy. However playing a game using a camera to control the action (presumably EyeToy
, but not named as such) the energy expenditure tripled.
The results were found to be the same for both lean and mildly obese children. Walking on a treadmill while watching TV also tripled expenditure for the lean group, but showed a nearly fivefold increase for the mildly obese group. While playing Dance Dance Revolution
, both groups burned the most calories, with the obese children burning more at over six times that of sitting still.
"We know if kids play video games that require movement, they burn more energy than they would while sitting and playing traditional screen games. That's pretty obvious even without our data. The point is that children - very focused on screen games - can be made healthier if activity is a required part of the game”, said Lanningham-Foster.