Getting our sedentary, overweight children off the couch is a challenge. That’s why the Nintendo Wii game console, which arrived in the United States six years ago, was such an exciting prospect. It offered the chance for children to get exercise without even leaving the house.
Tennis was one of the games in the Wii Sports software that came right in the box with the console. This was the progenitor of “exergames,” video games that led to hopes that fitness could turn into irresistible fun.
Do "Exergames" Increase Physical Activity for Kids?
Sadly, "exergames" have turned out to be much digital ado about nothing, at least as far as measurable health benefits for children. “Active” video games distributed to homes with children do not produce the increase in physical activity that naïve parents (like me) expected. That’s according to a study undertaken by the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and published early this year in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.