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Video Games Found to Encourage Healthy Eating Patterns in Children Says New Study

A recent study at Ryerson University suggests that playing video games for thirty minutes encourages healthy eating habits in young children.

Many people generally perceive that video games have a negative effect on our health, especially as kids. But a recent study would suggest otherwise. Nutritionists at Ryerson University found that playing video games before meals might encourage healthy life styles in young children.

Ryerson set up their study like this: the researchers first found a group of 9-14 year old boys "of healthy weight." The boys were then divided into two groups. One played Angry Birds for thirty minutes, while the second did nothing for the same amount of time. Both were then given pizza to eat until they were full. Finally, researchers measured and analyzed the data gathered from this experiment.

What they found was that the group playing Angry Birds ate 50 fewer calories than the control group. However, mood might have had a part in this, because the happier kids ate less. According to Nick Bellissimo, a researcher on the project:

"This result is forcing us to re-examine everything we thought we knew about the effect of screen exposure on eating behavior in children within the healthy body weight range."

Further scrutiny: what are the limitations of this study?

Although the results are positive, they're more limiting than the source article might suggest. For instance, the study only looked at children playing Angry Birds. We do not know how other games might affect this data. In addition, the study only looked at young boys at a healthy weight. Bellissimo admits that in similar studies looking at girls or obese children, games don't have much as of an impact. Indeed, he acknowledges some of these limits, saying that he wishes to study why these findings turned out the way they did.

Published Oct. 21st 2014

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