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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are video games related to childhood obesity?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Karen Amos

    Counsellor, Personal Trainer

    Walk and Talk is just what you need to begin living a life that you love. I'm Karen Amos and at Walk and Talk Australia … View Profile

    Great question!  And one that I deal with personally and professionally.  Let me begin by clarifying this. A video game will not cause obesity.  Although, they are related if you are talking about a stationary game (where there is little physical movement) and serving it with a side of fat and sugary foods.

    In my personal life I have three primary aged children. The most difficult one of these to take the ipad, ipod, Wii off is our 12 year old son.  If we didn't have any boudaries in place with him, he would be in front of a screen all the time.

    Professionally, I am a personal trainer and counsellor and in working with children there are a few points that are valid in all ascpects of life.  
    * Boundaries - there are healthy guidelines for eating, sitting and for movement - too much of any of these is not a good thing
    * Active play - children can be playing interactive games in front of the TV (although they may be missing out on the fresh air and outdoors).  Another great motivator for kids to get outside, having parents who join in.  You could engage a family personal trainer to get you started!
    * Balance - Dr Michael Carr Greg said earlier today that for each hour a child is in front of a screen, there ought to be a hour away from the screen.  Children's brains develop when they are engage in play outside the screen.  As opposed to a waistlines that develop when they are in front of the screen.

    In my family and my work I promote these three things

    1. Healthy boundaries
    2. Active play
    3. Balance
    And so can you in your home.  Enjoy today! 

    Karen

  • Kaye Haslam

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    As a private practice Dietitian/Nutritionist with over 30 years experience I have a special interest in weight management & related health issues such as Diabetes, … View Profile

    Probably - especially for the physically inactive child who plays more of these sedentary games than games which require a physical output. Video games burn very little energy.

  • Sarah Perkins

    Dietitian, Exercise Scientist, Nutritionist

    Sarah is a Dietitian, Exercise Scientist & Nutritionist.Sarah is the director of the successful diet and exercise clinic Eat Play Live in Sydney’s inner west. … View Profile

    Increased viewing or playing of any screen-time activity including video games (smart phone, tablet, computer, television) has been associated with an increased risk of overweight and obesity.

    Sitting for prolonged periods of time regardless of the amount exercise a person does at other times of the day has been shown in some studies to increase the risk of overweight and obesity.

    If screen time is too long children will not be able to achieve the reccomended 3 hours of exercise they should achieve everyday!! Most of the children i see (many from families who do encourage healthy eating and exercise habits) do not get any where near this.

    Eating in front of a screen (rather than at a table) has also been shown to increase the amount of food eaten without consciously being aware of what they consume.

    Helping a child find other enjoyable activities other than screen time can be important so as not to reward them with screen time and feel like they are in trouble when they can't play their video games (This is easier for some children then others- but sometimes it's important to think outside the box.)

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