Active Healthy Kids Canada's Position Statement on Active Video Games for Children and Youth

Active Healthy Kids Canada and the working group on the Position Statement on Active Video Games

The final Position Statement reads:

Active Healthy Kids Canada DOES NOT recommend active video games as a strategy to help kids be more physically active.

Explanation:

  • Playing active video games doesn’t lead to increased overall daily physical activity levels.
  • Active video games may get heart rates up, but they're not significantly helping kids get to the 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity required each day.
  • Kids find active video games appealing, but the appeal wears off over time and many don’t stick with them
  • Active video games don’t offer the fresh air, vitamin D, connection with nature and social interactions that come with outdoor active play.

Recommendations:

  • Active video games are a good way to break up sedentary time, like sitting on the couch, but not as good as playing real active games or sports.
  • Enjoy playing active video games with your kids, and let them enjoy playing them with their friends, but don’t misunderstand this as a replacement of real physical activity.
  • If money is spent on active video games as a means of exercise, it might be better spent on skipping ropes, balls, ice skates or other sporting equipment.
  • In kids with developmental delays, movement challenges or injuries, active video games can be used to help teach motor skills, improve movement and rehabilitate.

Details on the process to inform the Position Statement.

Active Healthy Kids Canada's Position on Active Video Games for Children and Youth.

Chaput JP, Leblanc AG, McFarlane A, Colley RC, Thivel D, Biddle S, Maddison R, Leatherdale S, Tremblay MS Paediatr Child Health. 2013 Dec;18(10):529-32

The systematic review

Active video games and health indicators in children and youth: a systematic review.

LeBlanc AG, Chaput JP, McFarlane A, Colley RC, Thivel D, Biddle SJ, Maddison R, Leatherdale ST, Tremblay MS.

PLoS One. 2013 Jun 14;8(6):e65351. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065351. Print 2013.

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