Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New study could help casual exergaming!

7-28-10: Check this quote out: “The time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level.”

This was from a new American Cancer Society study,
titled Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults. (I put more details of the article and study below for those who want the reference) What does this study suggest? Two things:

1. We still need to promote the 2008 physical activity recommendation of 150 mins. of moderate physical activity per week.

2. We need to start focusing on reducing the amount of time we spend being a couch potato the other 23.5 hours in the day!

How does this help the exergaming cause? Well for starters, most of our research focus has been on showing how exergaming can meet objective #1. Games like wii Boxing and Xavix Jackie Chan Run and certain songs of iDance can definitely get one up to the moderate (4-6 MET) range.

Even though we have been showing this, most of the criticism towards exergaming is still focused on how it isn't "enough" to reach the moderate level of "exercise". Well now with this study, we can say that the OTHER exergames that fall below the "moderate" level can help to address this second objective! It seems that this is turning out to be a much bigger risk factor than was first thought.

So casual exergames can make a big dent reducing the negative effects of "hypokinetic disease", and if you read the study, this could be even bigger than getting people to do their 30 mins. of moderate exercise Rx 5x/wk!

Another study to support the use of exergames in getting couch potatoes all over the world moving!

Public release date: 22-Jul-2010

Contact: David Sampson
American Cancer Society

Study links more time spent sitting to higher risk of death

Risk found to be independent of physical activity level

A new study from American Cancer Society researchers finds it's not just how much physical activity you get, but how much time you spend sitting that can affect your risk of death. Researchers say time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level. They conclude that public health messages should promote both being physically active and reducing time spent sitting. The study appears early online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Increasing obesity levels in the United States are widely predicted to have major public health consequences. A growing epidemic of overweight and obesity has been attributed in part to reduced overall physical activity. And while several studies support a link between sitting time and obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease risk factors (11, 16, 17), and unhealthy dietary patterns in children and adults (18-20), very few studies have examined time spent sitting in relation to total mortality (21-23). Thus, public health guidelines focus largely on increasing physical activity with little or no reference to reducing time spent sitting.

To explore the association between sitting time and mortality, researchers led by Alpa Patel, Ph.D. analyzed survey responses from 123,216 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) who had no history of cancer, heart attack, stroke, or emphysema/other lung disease enrolled in the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention II study in 1992. They examined the amount of time spent sitting and physical activity in relation to mortality between 1993 and 2006. They found that more leisure time spent sitting was associated with higher risk of mortality, particularly in women. Women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 percent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day. Men who sat more than 6 hours a day were 18 percent more likely to die than those who sat fewer than 3 hours per day. The association remained virtually unchanged after adjusting for physical activity level. Associations were stronger for cardiovascular disease mortality than for cancer mortality.

When combined with a lack of physical activity, the association was even stronger. Women and men who both sat more and were less physically were 94% and 48% more likely, respectively, to die compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active.

"Several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and higher all-cause death rates," said Dr. Patel. "Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases."

The authors conclude that "public health messages and guidelines should be refined to include reducing time spent sitting in addition to promoting physical activity. Because a sizeable fraction of the population spends much of their time sitting, it is beneficial to encourage sedentary individuals to stand up and walk around as well as to reach optimal levels of physical activity."


Article: "Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults." Alpa V. Patel, Leslie Bernstein, Anusila Deka, Heather Spencer Feigelson, Peter T. Campbell, 5 Susan M. Gapstur, Graham A. Colditz, and Michael J. Thun. Am J Epid Published online July 22, 2010 (DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwq155).

Link to abstract:

Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults

Alpa V. Patel*, Leslie Bernstein, Anusila Deka, Heather Spencer Feigelson, Peter T. Campbell, Susan M. Gapstur, Graham A. Colditz and Michael J. Thun

* Correspondence to Dr. Alpa V. Patel, Epidemiology Research Program, American Cancer Society, 250 Williams Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303 (e-mail: ).

Received for publication January 7, 2010. Accepted for publication April 29, 2010.

The obesity epidemic is attributed in part to reduced physical activity. Evidence supports that reducing time spent sitting, regardless of activity, may improve the metabolic consequences of obesity. Analyses were conducted in a large prospective study of US adults enrolled by the American Cancer Society to examine leisure time spent sitting and physical activity in relation to mortality. Time spent sitting and physical activity were queried by questionnaire on 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were disease free at enrollment. The authors identified 11,307 deaths in men and 7,923 deaths in women during the 14-year follow-up. After adjustment for smoking, body mass index, and other factors, time spent sitting (≥6 vs. <3> mortality in both women (relative risk = 1.34, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25, 1.44) and men (relative risk = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.24). Relative risks for sitting (≥6 hours/day) and physical activity (<24.5> combined were 1.94 (95% CI: 1.70, 2.20) for women and 1.48 (95% CI: 1.33, 1.65) for men, compared with those with the least time sitting and most activity. Associations were strongest for cardiovascular disease mortality. The time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level. Public health messages should include both being physically active and reducing time spent sitting.

mortality; motor activity; prospective studies; sedentary lifestyle

Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; CPS-II, Cancer Prevention Study II; ICD, International Classification of Diseases; MET, metabolic equivalent

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nice writeup on Games for Health

7-9-10: Check out this nice article in Reuters on our recent Games for Health conference. Ben and Steve were quoted in here!

ABCs of Fitness in school day!

7-9-10: A study looked at the ABC's of fitness...but not the alphabet, but the effects of "Activity Bursts in the Classroom"! It's a preliminary study, but I think shows great promise based on the results. David Katz, of Yale, is the lead researcher in this study.

It's a preliminary study, and they discuss the limitations, but I think it's a great start and one that future research can be built upon, especially with utilizing exergaming.

Here's the source and link to this article:

You may want to see this recent article from Preventing Chronic Disease, the online e-journal:
Preventing Chronic Disease (PCD) is a peer-reviewed journal established to disseminate knowledge and promote discussion among researchers and practitioners in the field of chronic disease prevention and health promotion. All issues are available electronically, free of charge to subscribers.
You can find PCD on the Web at:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thte "womb of technology"

7-8-10: Ok, so this is the Exergaming Evangelist's soapbox...that doesn't mean I just blindly support anything exergaming, but want to look at all sides of this growing field.

Here's an interesting piece by Jonathan McCalmont on Microsoft's Kinect and where he thinks this type of technology is leading us. Click on the link to read about it:

Think he's right or is it a doomsday perspective? You be the judge.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another new multiplayer dance game

7-7-10: iDance is the big kid on the multiplayer dancing type exergames, but Cobalt Flux is unveiling it's newest exergame at the YMCA conference in Utah this week called "BluFit". Check it out on their website!
Will be awaiting reports on this new game from colleagues who are there at Utah right now, so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

National Wii Games Tournament!

7-1-10: Only 15 days till the first-ever national Wii Games Tournament kicks off! Too bad there wasn't a location nearer to us, tho the Finals will be held in Los Angeles, which I'll have to go check out. See the website to see if there's a location near you!

Now if we can just get a more inclusive World Exergame Tournament going on, like the National Spelling Bee, that would be awesome! Kids could be training all over the place--at home, in rec centers, at Y's, in after-school programs--training for their local competition in hopes of making it to sectionals, regionals, and then the finals. (Exergame Fitness has hundreds of locations they have set up. Imagine training of teams going on at all of these facilities!)

Imagine teams of kids, adults, seniors, challenged athletes...all traveling to the "World Cup of Exergaming" in some country? Wouldn't that be a sight?

It's been done already--a test competition between a school in California and England (thanks to Richard of Gamercize), so we know the technology is there.

It would make for great TV viewing as well. Maybe there could even be a TV show like the American Gladiators, featuring the latest exergaming athletes!

Having something like this would be a huge motivation to a lot of kids who might not otherwise want to do a whole lot of physical activity. How many kids will make it to the World Little League tournament, or the Junior Olympics in swimming, track and field, etc.? Not many. But if we had something like this for the "video game generation", they would have something to train for.

Those of us who are involved with exergaming sites know that even with video games, the newness can wear off so unless you keep adding new games to your inventory, kids can get bored. Having something like a national or world tournament system (and a chance to be on ESPN or American Exergaming Gladitor on TV) would give kids something to train for and look forward to, thus increasing long-term compliance with their weekly exergaming workout.

Hopefully we'll see that soon and I'll do all I can to make that happen. Anyone interested in joining me & MedPlay Technologies to make this happen???