Movement-based video games may be perceived as an alternative to physical activity - and a study at The University of Western Australia aims to rate them for their contribution to energy expenditure, movement skills and social interaction.
The project started earlier this year and is testing children in the University's state-of-the-art exer-gaming lab. Researchers are hoping to recruit another 500 children aged from 10 to 15 to play Xbox Kinect, Sony PS3 Move and Nintendo Wii games for five hours over a five-week period during the school holidays.
Results will be used to develop an online resource for parents to access health- related information on a wide range of movement-based video games prior to purchasing them for their children.
Western Australian data shows that more than 80 per cent of children play computer games and exceed Government-produced guidelines for the number of hours spent participating in screen-based activities.
"Parents make decisions about what content to expose their children to, and rating scales exist concerning the level of violence in computer games, but there is not a health-related rating system available," project organiser Amanda Derbyshire said.
"Movement-based game technology provides a more immersive experience to playing computer games than the traditional joystick-operated games. We observed that while games may be designed for lots of body movement, children soon learn how to operate the game with minimal movement, reducing the benefits from a health perspective."
Anyone interested in having children participate in the study should contact Ms Amanda Derbyshire.