Video games make kids eat more?

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The study, of 22 normal-weight teens, found that the boys ate a bigger lunch when they had a pre-meal video game, versus an hour spent relaxing and on average, the boys downed 163 calories more on the day when they played video games, reported researchers.

Exactly what that means for video gamers' waistlines is unknown. But the findings add to studies that have linked kids' screen time from TV and computers to the odds of being overweight.

However it's not clear why boys ate more on a game day. But, researchers speculate that there is a subtle "mental-stress effect," and eating food may satisfy the brain's need for a "reward."

It is suggested that parents try to limit their kids' time in front of the TV and computer, and replace some of those sedentary hours with physical activity. Experts generally recommend that children get no more than two hours of screen time per day.

One question for future studies is what kind of effects "active" video games, like Wii games, might have on kids' calorie balance. On the positive side, they get users to move and burn calories, but if they also encourage overeating as compared to old-fashioned exercise, like riding a bike, that would be a downside.


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