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The prevalence of obesity in children has reached epidemic proportions with over 37% of children
aged 6-11 years in the U.S. being classified as “at risk for overweight” or “overweight.” Utilization of active video
games has been proposed as one possible mechanism to help shift the tide of the obesity epidemic.
The purpose of this study was to determine if riding a stationary bike that controlled a video game would lead to
significantly greater energy expenditure than riding the same bike without the video game connected.
Twenty children, 7-14 years old, with a BMI classification of “at risk for overweight” or “overweight” participated
in this study. Following familiarization, energy expenditure was evaluated while riding a stationary bike for 20 minutes.
One test was performed without the addition of a video game and one test with the bike controlling the speed of a car
on the video game.
Oxygen consumption and energy expenditure were significantly elevated above baseline in both conditions. Energy
expenditure was significantly higher while riding the bike as it controlled the video game (4.4 ± 1.2 Kcal·min-1) than
when riding the bike by itself (3.7 ± 1.1 Kcal·min-1) (p<0.05). Perceived exertion was not significantly different between
the two sessions (p>0.05).
Using a stationary bike to control a video game led to greater energy expenditure than riding a stationary bike
without the video game and without a related increase in perceived exertion.