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Public Health Benefit of Active Video Games Is Not Clear-Cut

March 4, 2012 Comments off

Public Health Benefit of Active Video Games Is Not Clear-Cut
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Simply giving a child an “active” video game will not necessarily increase his or her physical activity, according to the study, “Impact of an Active Video Game on Healthy Children’s Physical Activity,” in the March 2012 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 27). Researchers gave 87 children a game console, and either two “active” video games or two “inactive” games. Examples of active games include those in which players dance or use their bodies to simulate bowling. The children kept a log of their play times, and their activity levels were measured over a 12-week period using an accelerometer (a device that measures acceleration and exertion). The children who were given active games were not more physically active than those given inactive games.

The authors note that children have played active video games with moderate to vigorous physical activity in laboratory settings, but that did not translate to “real life.” They theorize that the children either did not elect to play the active games at the same level of intensity as in the lab, or they chose to be less active at other times of the day. However, providing explicit instructions to use the active games appeared to lead to increased physical activity, which could make the games useful as part of interventions that prescribe using the games for a set amount of time.

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Driver Education Training Varies by State

February 16, 2012 Comments off

Driver Education Training Varies by State
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Inexperience is a main factor contributing to high crash rates for teen drivers. Formal driver education programs, including behind-the-wheel training with adult supervision, can help new drivers gain the experience needed to remain safe. But driver education requirements vary state by state.

The study, “Variation in Teen Driver Education by State Requirements and Sociodemographics,” in the March 2012 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 13), found that 78.8 percent of public high school students with driver’s licenses reported participating in a formal driver education program. However, in states without a driver education requirement, more than 1 in 3 students received no formal driver education before getting their licenses. In addition, more than half reported having no formal behind-the-wheel training. Hispanics, blacks, males and students with lower academic achievements participated in driver education at a much lower level in states that do not require it. In fact, 71 percent of Hispanic students in these states obtained a license with no formal training. The authors conclude that state driver education requirements may be an effective strategy to reduce disparities in these groups.

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