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The Best Video Games To Counter Gaming-related Obesity

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?Playing video games will make you fat and eventually obese,? might be a few lines that we might hear whenever we see hardcore gamers slumping all-day-long on their couch to play video games.

The hate for video gaming as a cause of obesity caused a stir after several stories on the matter surfaced online.

It was said that over the course of the last three decades, obesity between the age of 2 and 19 ?nearly tripled?, a research by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey said. Video games was one of the reasons for this along with others such as personal and cultural factors. In their survey between 2011 and 2012, they found approximately 16.9 percent of U.S. children obese while 14.9 percent are overweight. The American teenager, they said, now only averages 12 minutes of vigorous activity per day.

Recently, a report said teenage gamers spend 30 and 34% less time respectively in reading and doing their homework. ?Too much gaming is associated with decreased school performance, desensitization to violence,? the report said.

In 2013, a report said that video games poses a risk for children to stop completely from physical activity as they are held ?hostages to handheld devices?, said London 2012 Chairman Lord Coe who secured the Games for London after witnessing a report that said one in four children think video games are a form of exercise. They said that seven-year-olds failed to meet the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended.

The issue was further raised recently when a 2014 report said 23% of kids thought playing video game with a friend counts as ?being active?. A total of 1,000 children between the ages of 5 and 16 were polled. Those aged between 7 and 8 believed this with 31% agreeing while those between 15 and 16 were least likely at 15%.

If think that you or your kinds aren?t obese, you need to double check? as a New York Times report cited a research that parents of overweight children saw their child?s weight as ?just about right? even as? parents from 2007 to 2012 are now 30 percent likely to accurately identify a child?s weight than parents from 1988 to 1994.

A video game routine which trains people to resist unhealthy food snacks was made by Psychologists at the University of Exeter and Cardiff University was able to make users lose an average of 1.5 pounds in the first seven days, 4.5 pounds after six months, and a reduction in their daily caloric consumption by 220 calories. ?These findings are among the first to suggest that a brief, simple computerized tool can change people?s everyday eating behavior,? the researcher said.

The game devised by the researchers however isn?t a true video game as the participants were only made to press keys on a PC indicating a ?go? when they saw good images like fruits and clothes while they would need to ?stop? when they see calorie-dense foods like chip and cake.

?The Advent of Active Games

With the dawn of motion controlled games as mainstreamed by the Nintendo Wii and has amped Sony and Microsoft to step-up their game, a recent study showed compared outdoor activities with active video games produced and showed that games produced by the likes of Sony and Microsoft can be a good source of physical activity for children.

?A significant difference between active video gaming and outdoor play was found for the accelerometer located on the hip of participants, with video gaming having a greater percentage of moderate to vigorous intensity than unstructured outdoor play,? their press release said.

Each children were made to play outdoors and play active 20 minute game sessions of the ?Kinect Adventures River Rush? from the Xbox 360. Children aged between five and eight were made to wear an accelerometers? one for the hip and another for each wrist. They were made to do the activity for a three week period and they were allowed to rest anytime during the 20 minute session.

?We?re not saying video games should replace outdoor play, but there are better choices people can make when choosing the types of video games for their children,? the researcher said.

A report in 2011 was able to foresee the benefits of video games as an avenue to exercise and lose weight when they echoed that ?exergaming has the potential to be a safe and effective tool for maintaining or improving cardiovascular fitness?.

?We look at exergames (exercise games) as stealth exercise? they?re getting exercise without realizing it,? they reported.


And it?s not just video games that can help one keep in shape. Smartwatches have also been in the groove of a wearer?s fitness journey with both Android and iOS watches offering apps and features to monitor well-being.

Pebble smartwatches for example can keep track of steps and sleep patterns to determine if you?re getting the right amount of exercise and rest. Recently, PC World reported that an update to Misfit?s Pebble app offers a new service that can help monitoring easier. The app, which can automatically switch between step counting and sleep tracking, now syncs with Android phones, and improves existing sync capabilities to iOS. This allows users to view long-term fitness trends, share their accomplishments with friends, and set their own fitness goals using Misfit?s smartphone apps.


So what kind of active video games can you select to ensure that you are truly maximizing your cardiovascular fitness? Here are some of the latest games from the current generation of consoles that can get you sweating and losing those flabs while enjoying your time.

?Xbox Fitness (Xbox One)

While people who are not really into exercising might not want to buy a game that plasters and replicates real movements to work out your body, those who are really looking forward to become fit will find more inspiration as it has game features that push you to work harder

The game offers different workout videos hosted by different fitness gurus like Jillian Michaels and Tracy Anderson. The workout video shows your boy?s silhouette in real time and your muscle parts will glow to show what body part is being worked on. There are even score multipliers to? motivate you to push yourself more and an inclusion of a ?calories burned? metric will keep you fulfilled.

You can even read your heart rate and determine which muscles need more work through the use of Microsoft?s Kinect.

Just Dance (Nintendo Wii, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3)

Dancing to the songs of contemporary artists ensures that you can easily jive and dance to their beats.? The game shows an avatar who dances and you must imitate their movements throughout the song. While the dance itself isn?t rigorous enough to ensure that your muscles are in top shape, it is better to play games like these where you can sweat as opposed to gaming on a couch.

Zumba Fitness World Party (Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii)

This game?s title alone doesn?t hide its intentions of making you pour bucket loads of sweat on the floor. If you don?t have a knack for dancing or uninterested in even trying, then don?t bother trying this game.

In Zumba Fitness World Party, you travel all over the world with each location featuring a variety of songs therein you can imitate the dancers on-screen and learn and experience how to do basic or amateur, novice, or expert level Zumba moves. You can even toggle the number of workouts you want to do in correspondence to the desired calorie count you want to burn.

There actually really not enough active games in the future especially after the Nintendo Wii saturated the market with various active games. Microsoft?s Xbox One also changed their decision to mandatorily include the Kinect in their console and Sony?s? Playstation consoles always made their motion devices optional.

Will we still see more active games in the future? Or will gamers be satisfied and count moving and tilting their heads on the oculus rift as an exercise or dragging and clicking things with the Holo Lens? Addictive games truly makes gamers want to play non-stop, and if active games are able to replicate the same experience, maybe the game industry can actually balance out its bad effects on gamers, especially on children.

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