I am sure by now that you are well aware that video games are some of the most popular activities with children. In fact not only children but adults of all ages play these games. However what you may not be aware of is the fact that there is a definite link between video games and obesity.
What are some of the reasons behind this theory?
• It is a sedentary activity: playing video games does not require much physical activity. In the old days kids did far more physical activities. They used to spend a large part of their day outside playing with friends. Now the scene has changed and they spend most of their free time playing video games. This means that you kid is taking far less exercise and burning less calories.
• It is all absorbing: Once you start to play a video game it is hard to put it down and do something else. You just get so absorbed into the game that time just flies and before you know it you have spent several hours just playing the game. This makes it difficult to focus on other activities.
• Takes a long time to complete: Games now a days are in fact designed to last longer and be more challenging so this just means that you are sitting for long periods of time, not taking any exercise.
• Encourages snacking: because gamers get caught up in the game they find it hard to break away and eat meals. This results in more snacking, usually on junk food and sodas. Because of this more calories are being taken in and less burned which results in weight gain.
What is the solution?
• Restrict timings: however unpopular it may be you have to set limits on how long your child can play video games or computer games. I used to do this with the TV when my children where small. They had a limited time for watching TV and then they had to go out and play. When you start this when a child is young they will get into the habit of playing for shorter periods.
• Offer more active play time: Get your child interested in some outside activities. Young children often like gardening or sports. Older children will often continue with sports. You can get them involved with the YMC or even activities at school.
• Do more family activities: family activities are good. You can take your family on hikes or cycling expeditions. Outings to the Zoo and other places involve quite a bit of walking and will get your child away from the video games for awhile. If all else fails you can take out a membership at a gym and exercise as a family unit.
There is certainly a link between video games and obesity. However as a responsible parent if you recognize this at an early age you will prevent a lot of problems in the future and can also prevent weight gain in your child. Your child will still enjoy their video games but will not be obsessed with them.