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United Press International , February 28, 2012

Active video games don't boost exercise

HOUSTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Children who play active video games do not engage in more physical activity than those who play inactive video games, U.S. and Hong Kong researchers suggest.

Tom Baranowski of the Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Ester Cerin of the Institute of Human Performance at the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues said some had thought active video games could help boost children's physical activity -- especially for those who live in unsafe neighborhoods.

The study involved children ages 9-12 with a body mass index in the 50th percentile and higher, but less than the 99th percentile. None of the children had a medical condition that would preclude physical activity or playing video games, the researchers said.

A randomized clinical trial assigned children to receiving two active or two inactive video games, the peripherals necessary to run the games, and a Wii console.

Physical activity was monitored using accelerometers for five weeks during a 13-week period. Neighborhood safety was assessed with a 12-item questionnaire.

The study published in the journal Pediatrics found no evidence children who used the active video games were more active in general, or at any time, than children receiving the inactive video games.

This article originally appeared here.

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