Video Sport

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

Brendan says "there's a big difference between playing these games in the comfort of your home, and actually getting out and playing a game on court"

It's the computer craze getting kids off the couch soccer, tennis, dancing, interactive sport, with a computer screen.

Brendan says "it's Christmas around the corner and parents may be thinking about buying these sorts of consoles as presents for their kids and they are certainly promoted as being healthy alternatives to traditional video games, but they may not be as healthy as parents think"

Now, in a world first, researchers from the University of Western Australia will give these movement based video games, a health rating. Professor Michael Rosenburg, is heading up the study, "the rating scale we've proposed will tell parents about the amount of energy that kids are likely to consume by playing these games"

Games like Nintendo Wii, play station move and the latest Xbox kinect are increasingly popular with children, and their parents. Recent research by the team, show children are spending more time than ever playing these sorts of games.

A whopping seventy percent of primary school students play movement based video games. The trend isn't so high among girls, who still prefer traditional activities like playing with pets. But for both primary school and secondary school boys it's their number one activity.

Dr Brendan Lay studies body movement ... "even if the movements that children perform while playing these games look similar to real skills, there still is a big difference"

Now, researchers will scientifically measure a range of games using heart rate monitors and this little gadget, an accelerometer, which records movement. They'll all be watched, filmed, and their actions scrutinised

Brendan says "initially, children in particular do make quiet exaggerated movements to try and emulate real skills but also most peoples experience is after a while you learn to cheat the system a little bit and start to minimise your movements to achieve the same goals"

By downloading information collected while kids play, it's possible to calculate exactly how much energy is used in dozens of different games "the information is planned to be released onto a website but also onto mobile phone application so that parents can access information when they're in the shopping centre thinking about the games"

It'll be the first video game, health rating system in the world at parent's fingertips until then, they recommend moderation.

Michael says "they're certainly better than sitting on the couch with a remote controller, they're not as good as getting outside, they fit somewhere in between"

For further details visit

www.sseh.uwa.edu.au/surveys/Gr8H