Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Dance away childhood obesity

Life Lessons: Dance away childhood obesity

Can you hula, dance, or box your way to a better body? Kids are exergaming all over the world. These are exercise video games that get you up and moving!

Sales are projected to reach 40 billion dollars by next year, but that's not the only impressive number being totaled by these games.

Pounds are also falling off teens struggling to lose weight.

"Because it's fun, it'll help me stick to exercise," says exergaming user Tiffany Roberson..

Exergaming is Roberson's solution for dropping a few pounds. She's a high school senior and participant in a study at Pennington Biomedical Research Center focused on the impact of dance exergaming on overweight and obese teen girls.

"We'll be able to tell whether gaming actually affects their weight or their health," says Amanda Staiano, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Now, Dr. Staiano wants to find out if exergaming can become a new tool in the fight against childhood obesity.

"We find, especially with African-American girls, that dance is a fun way to get together and often times forget that they're exercising because they just enjoy the dance and the movement," Dr. Staiano explained.

When it comes to burning calories, how do these pulse-pounding exergames stack up to regular exercise? A moderate three-mile per hour walk burns 120 calories per half hour. Dancing with a video game burns 159 calories per 30 minutes. Boxing burns 216 calories and tennis burns 159 per half-hour. Bowling and golf burn 117 and 93 calories every 30 minutes.

Like most teens, Roberson doesn't like traditional exercises, so now she's committed to dance her way to a healthier life.

"I just want to feel healthier," Roberson said. "I think it will help me in every aspect, like school and how I feel about myself."

Doctors say it's not just about exergaming, but the intensity at which you exergame. Just like traditional exercise, if you don't put in the effort, you won't see the results.

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