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How does gaming affect my child's physical health?

Harmful Consequences

While we can’t blame video games entirely for the increase in childhood obesity in recent years, too much screen time is definitely related to poor health in children.

There is a pretty direct relationship between the number of hours spent in front of screens (T.V. and computer) and the amount of body fat a child has.

Children and adults alike are more likely to snack on unhealthy foods while in front of a screen, and they are less likely to notice how much they’re eating. This combination of inactivity and extra snacks results in children consuming more fat calories then they can possibly be burning! This can lead to childhood diabetes and other serious consequences. There is also increasing evidence that when your kids don’t feel good physically, they can start to feel bad psychologically, too.

The key here is balance.
For every hour spent in front of a video game, another hour should be spent doing something active and equally fun. We know it’s tough after a long day at work, but it’s also important that you set a good example for your kids when it comes to physical activity. Try to adopt the same one-to-one ratio for yourself!

There are so many possible physical activities your child (and sometimes you, too) can do, such as:

  • Bike-riding around the neighborhood
  • Rollerblading
  • Taking the dog for a walk in the park
  • Having a family bowling night
  • Joining at least one extracurricular sport, like baseball or ice-skating
  • Even playing a game of tag or hide-and-seek will get your kids moving

On a positive note:
We should also mention that there are some new video games have taken the problem of childhood obesity into account, and these games have really been increasing in popularity. Games such as Dance Dance Revolution and a variety of others compatible with Nintendo’s Wii Fit, try to incorporate physical activity into playing. These allow your child to actually get up and move in order to make the controllers work.