Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is Video Game Really Bad For Children?

Video game, together with other screen-based entertainments like TV and DVD watching, as well as leisure time computer use, has long been accused as one of the culprits that cause children obesity.

Does this mean that children should be totally banned from playing video games? Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine might have a different perspective, as they believed video games could be used to encourage kids to eat healthier foods.

Their study, which was conducted in the United States, found that children who played certain video games increased the amount of fruit and vegetables they ate each day by around one serving. In the United States, nearly one in five 6- to 19-year-olds is obese. The findings were published on December 7, 2010 in the ‘American Journal of Preventive Medicine’.

The 2 video games used in the study were "Escape from Diab” and “Nanoswarm" designed by Archimage to change diet and physical activity behaviors to reduce the risk of becoming obese and diabetic. Archimage is a Houston-based visual arts studio using its experience in computer-based architecture to specialize in serious video game development for the medial research community.

“Escape from Diab” and “Nanoswarm” were designed as epic video game adventures that are comparable to commercial quality video games. A broad diversity of behavior change procedures was incorporated into the games, which can really motivate players to substantially improve diet behaviors.

Obese children are more likely to grow up to be obese adults, to suffer from many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke and fatty liver disease, and to die prematurely of any cause, as shown by numerous studies.

The finding is definitely a useful step towards fighting childhood obesity because increasing intake of fruit and vegetables could reduce the risk of obesity.

But, researchers also pointed out that while there was increased intake of health foods, children still failed to consume the minimum daily amount of fruit and vegetables recommended by doctors. What worrying them most is that children did not get enough physical exercise. According to health professionals, children should eat 5 servings a day of fruit or vegetables and get an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise.

Though serious video games hold promise, the researchers still felt that their effectiveness and mechanisms of change among youth need to be more thoroughly investigated.

1 comment:

  1. According to my opinion, playing video games for long time may show a little bit of bad effect on the children's health. Of course, video games may create lot of joy and happiness while playing, but it should be limited.