• Energy expenditure of “Kinect™” exergaming in schoolchildren

      Morris, Mike; Smallwood, Stephen R. (University of Chester, 2011-10)
      With declining levels of physical activity and increasing body mass indexes recent research has proposed that active video gaming could be a potential tool in the fight against childhood obesity. This study was designed to evaluate the energy and physiological costs of the latest technology of active gaming, Kinect™ for the Xbox360®, in healthy schoolchildren. The hypothesis was that energy expenditure would be significantly greater when children engaged in activity promoting video games using Kinect™ compared to both traditional sedentary video gaming and rest. Energy expenditure, heart rate and oxygen consumption were measured in 18 healthy schoolchildren (10 boys and 8 girls) aged 11 to 15 years during rest, whilst playing a traditional non-active video game and also whilst playing two activity promoting Kinect™ video games. Participants played each game for 15 minutes in a fixed order and measurements were made by indirect calorimetry using the Cosmed K4 b² metabolic cart. Repeated measurement mixed-model analysis was conducted to compare the physiological costs and energy expenditures across conditions with multiple post hoc comparisons. Mean heart rates, oxygen and energy costs all increased significantly (p < .05) during activity promoting video game play compared to rest and sedentary gaming. Mean heart rate increased by 53% above rest (77.4 ± 14.6 bpm) during a dance simulation game (118.3 ± 17.8 bpm) and by 70% during a boxing game (131.3 ± 15.3 bpm). Mean energy expenditures of 3.00 ± 1.03 kcal•min–1 and 4.35 ± 1.55 kcal•min–1 were demonstrated during “Dance Central” and “Kinect Sports Boxing”, 150% and 263% greater than resting values (1.20 ± 0.25 kcal•min–1) and 103% and 194% higher than during sedentary gaming (1.48 ± 0.33 kcal•min–1). Activity levels of 2.91 and 4.02 child-specific METs were achieved when playing the Kinect™ dance and boxing game. Active gaming using Kinect™ on the Xbox360® significantly increased energy expenditure compared to rest and almost tripled when compared to traditional sedentary gaming. In our sample, Kinect™ active gaming expended up to the equivalent of 261 kcal•h–1, 172 kcal•h–1greater than sedentary gaming. Such expenditure could potentially help bridge the ‘energy gap’ that is thought to be responsible for the increasing incidence of obesity seen in children and adolescents.