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Childhood Obesity: Video Games Not To Blame

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Childhood Obesity: Video Games Not To Blame

According to a 2006 American Obesity Association Study, approximately 30.3% of children (6-11 years) are overweight and 15.3% are obese. For teens (12-19 years) 33.4% are overweight and 15.5% obese. Who is planning on having children in the future? Who is planning on raising overweight or obese children? I bet if someone asked that question 20 years ago the response would be about the same; but in the last two decades the rate of overweight and obese children has tripled.

The blame for this growing epidemic gets spread around to almost everyone. Fast food, sugary soft drinks, television, schools that do not require physical education or gym classes, doctors who don't do enough to educate parents and children on healthy living and even video games are blamed. Video games today, if anything, are helping children lose weight not gain and some have been developed to educate children on healthy eating habits. Kaiser Permanente, a health insurer, has introduced a video game that takes on the growing problem of childhood obesity. The game, "The Incredible Adventures Of The Amazing Food Detective, pairs the child playing the game with the Amazing Food Detective to investigate why characters in the game are living unhealthy lives. Another video game helping children lose weight nation wide is Dance Dance Revolution. In the game players move on a dance pad in the direction of colored arrows on the screen to the beat of music. In one case a girl lost 60 pounds without dieting, just playing the game. In three years of playing the girl went from weighing 235 pounds to 145 pounds. Shedding 90 pounds off her five foot eight frame. Video games have also been proven to boost visual skills. An associate professor of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester, Dr. Daphne Bavelier conducted a study proving gamers process certain visual information better than non gamers; driving down a residential street for example. A Beth Israel Medical Center study even



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