Energy expenditure and enjoyment of active video games vs. other activities in 10-12 year old boys
Children are becoming more inactive and are spending a significant proportion of their time participating in screen-time sedentary behaviours. New generation active video games may provide an opportunity to convert traditional sedentary screen-time into active screen-time. The aims of this thesis were to: 1) determine the metabolic costs of different activities; 2) determine whether experience and fitness influence the metabolic costs of active video games; and 3) determine children's enjoyment of active video games. Accordingly, this thesis is presented as two papers. Twenty-six boys' (11.4 ± 0.8 yr) participated in the study. Each performed sedentary activities (resting, watching television and sedentary gaming), active video games (Nintendo® Wii Bowling, Boxing, Tennis, Skiing and Step Aerobics), traditional physical activities (walking and running) and a maximal fitness test. During all activities oxygen uptake and heart rate were measured and energy expenditure (EE) calculated. The active video games resulted in a significantly higher EE compared to rest (63-190%, p<0.05). No significant differences in EE were found between the most active video games (Wii Boxing and Wii Step) and walking. The intensities of the active video games were low (≤ 3 METSmeas). There was no evidence to suggest that gaming experience or aerobic fitness influenced EE during active video game play. Using the same sample, the aim was to determine the participants' enjoyment of active video games sedentary activities and physical activities. Participants' enjoyment was measured using the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale immediately after the activities. The percentages of children that enjoyed each activity were: walking (39%), television (58%), running (60%), PS3 (73%), Wii Boxing (88%), Wii Tennis (77%), Wii Fit (75%) and Wii Bowling (89%). The active video games were the most enjoyable activities irrespective of participants' weight status, fitness and experience. The metabolic costs of active video games suggest that they may be suitable for future interventions which are aimed at decreasing time spent in sedentary behaviour. However, as they are low intensity activities, active video game play time should not be accumulated as part of the 60-minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity that is currently recommended for children.