The one good thing about teens and sports drinks

May 6, 2014, TIME

By Alice Park

Researchers confirm a strong connection between sports and energy drinks and smoking, video game playing, and sugary soda consumption. But the beverages were also linked to more physical activity among teens.

Considering what we know about kids and sports drinks — briefly, that according to leading health groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children should not be drinking them — the small silver lining, according to a recent study, is that kids who drink them tend to exercise more than those who don’t. But they were also more likely to do things that harm their health, too.

Nicole Larson and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health asked nearly 3,000 students in grades six through 12 an exhaustive series of 235 questions and concluded that nearly 40 percent drank a sports drink at least once a week. Both boys and girls consuming sports drinks regularly were more likely to smoke and to play video games, the researchers found. They were also more likely to drink sugary soda and juice. The fact that sports and energy drink consumption are correlated with other risky behaviors, such as smoking, isn’t a surprise (though, to be clear, the researchers do not suggest a cause-effect relationship between the two). Continue reading

Mothers’ monitoring of media tied to kids’ weight

March 17, 2014, Reuters

By Andrew M. Seaman

Children whose mothers pay close attention to how much time they spend watching TV and playing video games tend to weigh less, according to a new study.

Researchers found that mothers who were more active in their media supervision had children who were thinner at age 7 and who gained less weight over the next few years.

“At this point we can say there is an association but we cannot say exactly why,” Stacey Tiberio, the study’s lead author from the Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene, told Reuters Health. Continue reading

E-Games boost physical activity in children; Might be a weapon in the battle against obesity

Jan. 9, 2013, Newswise

Video games have been blamed for contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States. But a new study by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) suggests that certain blood-pumping video games can actually boost energy expenditures among inner city children, a group that is at high risk for unhealthy weight gain.

The study, “Can E-gaming be Useful for Achieving Recommended Levels of Moderate to Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activity in Inner-City Children,” appeared Jan. 9 in the online edition of the scientific journal Games for Health. Continue reading

Study: Active video games have exercise-like effects in kids

Sept. 24, 2012, HealthDay

Adolescents who play active video games increase their heart rate, use more oxygen, and expend more energy, according to a small new study.

Low levels of physical activity are associated with obesity in children. Compared to video games that youngsters can play while sitting on the couch, active video games encourage movement and could help children increase their physical activity levels, according to researchers Stephen Smallwood and colleagues at the University of Chester, in England. Continue reading