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Wii Can't Replace Actual Exercise 148

Next Generation notes the results of a study into the health benefits of playing the Nintendo Wii. According to the University of Liverpool research, Wii Tennis can't compare with the real thing. "The result showed that the youths burned 60 calories (in nutrition terms) more an hour playing Wii, a 2% increase in the amount of energy burned versus the Xbox 360 players. The study is quoted as saying that 'these increases were of insufficient intensity to contribute towards recommendations for children's daily exercise,' and that active gaming using the Wii is no replacement for actual sports."
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Wii Can't Replace Actual Exercise

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  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @01:30PM (#21822288) Homepage
    That fitness game is actually a peripheral that allows for all kinds of balance/weight related games. It's called the WiiFit (more info/videos at [] and no I'm not involved with that site in any way).

    It should be available in the US on January 1st. (Good luck finding one, though. I'm guessing it'll quickly sell out and then become almost as hard to find as a Wii console.)

    Apparently, the fitness game itself isn't that strenuous, but some of the other games (running a race, moving a marble across a platform to a hole, skiing, dancing, etc) are. Also, I've heard that other games developers are looking into how to use this. Tony Hawk has been quoted as being interested in using it for one of his skateboarding games. (I'm not a fan of those games, but I can see how it could be applied there.)
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatman&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @02:08PM (#21822638) Homepage Journal

    2% is better than nothing.
    It's also wrong. The summary says:

    a 2% increase in the amount of energy burned versus the Xbox 360 players
    But the actual STUDY [] says:

    Predicted energy expenditure was at least 51% greater during active gaming than during sedentary gaming. This equates to an increase in energy expenditure of 250 kJ (60 kcal) an hour during active gaming compared with sedentary gaming. In a typical week of computer play for these participants, active gaming rather than passive gaming would increase total energy expenditure by less than 2%; although this figure is trivial it might contribute to weight management.
    The emphasis is mine. Taken as a whole, here's what the study says:

    1. You burn 51% more energy playing the Wii over the XBox 360.

    2. If you always played the Wii rather than the 360, you'd increase your caloric burn for a given WEEK by 2%.

    The study also says:

    [T]he monitor does not detect arm movements well. Energy expenditure may therefore have been underestimated during active gaming, which involves arm movements.

    The conclusion?

    Activity promoting new generation active computer games significantly increased participants' energy expenditure compared with sedentary games

    Now please mod this story -1 WRONG. Thank you, have a nice day. :-)
  • by ePhil_One ( 634771 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @03:41PM (#21823480) Journal
    They should have measured the amount of CO2 produced by the participants. Sure, this means they can't do this study at home and it will cost a lot more to do. But on the plus side, it will be actual, meaningful science that is really undisputable.

    Heck, simply monitoring their heart rate would have given better results, which would be simply done via an off-the-shelf Pulsar Heart Rate Monitor/watch.

  • by Deslock ( 86955 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2007 @04:22PM (#21823870)
    The /. story (and next-gen article it's based on) are both very misleading. next-gen article states:

    The result showed that the youths burned 60 calories (in nutrition terms) more an hour playing Wii, a 2% increase in the amount of energy burned versus the Xbox 360 players.
    Uhuh... if 60 calories more per hour is only a 2% increase, that'd mean that playing XBox burns 3,000 calories an hour! For anyone not familiar with a person's energy consumption, that's about triple what a 140-pound adult burns racing a bicycle at 20 MPH or running at 9 MPH. Since a typical 13-15 year weighs 110-pounds, the supposed 3,000 calories/hour would be more like quadruple what they would burn running/bicycling.

    So obviously that article is wrong. This less sensational and more accurate article [] states:

    Microsoft's Project Gotham Racing 3 for XBOX 360 can't hold a candle in fitness for teens to bowling, tennis, or boxing on Nintendo's Wii Sports, researchers found here.

    But neither compared with fitness gains from playing live sports, reported Gareth Stratton, Ph.D., of Liverpool John Moores University, and colleagues in the Dec. 22 issue of BMJ.

    - For Project Gotham Racing 3, the mean energy expenditure was 125.5
    - For Wii Sports bowling, it was 190.6 kJ/kg/min.
    - For Wii Sports boxing, it was 198.1 kJ/kg/min.
    - For Wii Sports tennis, it was 202.5 kJ/kg/min.
    So the study actually states that playing Wii Sports burns 51-61% more energy per hour than Project Gotham 3 on the XBox 360. However, the difference in total overall energy consumption over an entire week (counting time doing other things) is only 2%. It isn't clear in the medpagetoday article how many hours of play resulted in that 2% increase. However, if someone burned 12,000 calories per week then 2% of that would be 240 calories, which equates to 4 hours per week (keeping in mind that their definition of an hour includes a 5 min break for every 15 min of play).

    Of course, how you play will affect how quickly you burn the calories too... I know people who play Wii sports sitting still while only flicking their wrists and others who stand up and move their whole bodies pretending they're really boxing/batting/whatever.

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner