Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Does Playing the Nintendo Wii Really Burn Calories?

Not so much.

Despite the hoopla surrounding the Nintendo Wii in a putative role in the fight against childhood obesity, the first published study looking at calorie expenditure during gameplay suggests it's far from a prize fighter.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal (and sponsored by Nintendo) took 11 children aged 13-15 and compared their caloric expenditures playing Wii Sports vs. those playing a sedentary XBox 360 title.

The results?

Per hour of Wii sports you can expect to burn an additional 60 Calories.

To put this into perspective it would therefore take your child nearly 60 hours of playing the Wii to burn off a single pound worth of Calories.

Bottom line - Wiis are for fun, not for weight loss.

Oh, and the above's all assuming you are active when playing your Wii - something that the following video demonstrates is in fact not really necessary.

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  1. Bummer, now I should head to do more yoga-pilates, good diets and walks. Good day Wii later lol.

  2. Gil Mayron9:26 am

    www.virtualtennistour.com play in real wii tennis tournaments. Go to www.VirtualTennisTour.com to qualify for wii tennis master events.

    Gil Mayron
    #1 wii tennis player in the world

  3. First I have to say I am a huge fan. Great information and excellent points.

    Regarding the Wii, although I see your point that the hype surrounding the health benefits of the Wii are not in line with the actually calories burned, I have to stop and think...isn't 60 more calories better than nothing? I know kids need to get off their asses and head to the great out doors, but the reality of todays kids is video game consoles. With the Wii I also see an opportunity for parents to get involved. Most video games are well beyond the scope of possibility for parents, therefore they allow their kids to play for mindless hours. With Wii, the parents can play along and perhaps bond with the child. And I think you can agree the bonding is the key to having more influence with your children, thus creating a window through which a parent can persuade the children to take the "sports" outside. Just a thought.

    As I said, I do agree the hype is just that hype. Also 60 calories is 60 calories, which is added to total calories burned per day. But the intangible here is the potential for parental involvement in their older child's leisure time.

  4. Com'on Yoni, get with the Wii program. Confess, you have Wii Fit on order. You're taking May 19th off (the release date) so that you can play all day - losing Weight Instantly!

    The link below has a bunch of photos, including the one tracks your BMI. In two months, I'm sure you'll be claiming it's a Miracle Device!


  5. I think the Wii is crap. Kids and ADULTS get sucked into this video game junk and we are raising generations who have no clue what it means to use their imaginations or enjoy actual exercise. It's no wonder Americans are the most obese in the world. Just take a walk through your local mall...if you can't walk, sit and observe the people that go by. 8 out of 10 will be visibly overweight.

    It's the leading disease we face in this country and bad eating habits and being fat lead to the majority of other illnesses and disease.

    Oh, I thought the video was hysterical!

  6. That was funny! So much for the video game industry's claims that the Wii burns calories ....

  7. Anonymous3:38 pm

    That's very interesting although almost expected... What about DanceDance Revolution game? Do you have any stats on that?

  8. Haven't seen stats on Dance Dance though I bet they're out there.

    Of course Dance Dance is cross platform so no need for a Wii (though they do indeed look like fun).

  9. I'm 22. We kinda all like videogames. A lot of us also like to work out (especially at my school, where anorexia and bulimia are far and away more common than obesity). That said, I think the Wii looks stupid, and I can't help but feel the commercials are kinda racist. Plus I really liked that Yoshida Brothers song.

    I think it's important for people to start thinking of exercise as a mandatory activity, like eating or sleeping. Recreation, on the other hand, is for off-time, and it's kind of silly to argue over which sort of mindless fun is best. We all have our vice.

    I don't think videogames need to necessarily steal kids' imaginations. A lot of people see correlation and jump to conclusions. In my experience, it's people who don't try to actively teach or bond with their kids who seem to end up with those crazy 20-hours-of-gaming-a-day, pizza pocket-scarfing children.

    Some parents can't be bothered to sit down with their kids and teach them how to digest everything the TV/movies/magazines/game industry/other kids throw at them. They give them huge allowances and let them run amok at the mall like good little consumers. When their kids turn out stupid, they find someone else to blame and file lawsuits. Everyone feels better about themselves, and the kids are still pudgy brats.

  10. How refreshing. I can't lie, though, biochemikerin has made really good points. Harsh, but true.

  11. Anonymous1:50 pm

    Pretty much all of the studies I've read about Wii Sports burning calories have implied that people have been playing the regular main modes. But guess what? They most of the sports are effective with good reason--because there's too much delay in games between each inning/bat/round, etc.

    The real key to burning calories in Wii Sports is in TRAINING MODE. Hardly any delay whatsoever in the mini games. Try Batting practice and Working The Bag for 15 minutes each. You'll feel the burn and be able to burn 200 calories in half an hour fairly easily. For Batting Practice, swing between the actual pitches also to burn more calories. Twice for the first 15 balls, and once for the second 15 balls(because the delay between each pitch gets shorter).