## Video games and obesity

Complexity level:
8
Project cost (\$):
30
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 day for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements

### Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to understand how playing video games affects obesity in children.

### Hypothesis

Children who spend a large number of hours playing video games are at greater risk of being overweight, and in some cases obese.

### Background

Obesity and video games

Children love to play video games. They find video games very exciting and entertaining. However these video games are typically played indoors, involving little or no movement of major muscle groups in the body. Video games tend to the children of outdoor activities as well as the opportunity to interact with other children.

Video games are also less physically tiring compared to other outdoor games and therefore children are able to play them for long hours. Some children become addicted to video games and lose interest in outdoor activities. Children are naturally active and have a lot of energy. Not being able to release this energy by playing outdoors and running about could result in their becoming overweight or even obese.

Children also love to eat high calorie junk foods and snacksUnlike outdoor games and sports, playing video games does not provide children with thechance to burn these additional calories. Over time, these additional calories will accumulate in the children’s body and lead to obesity.

### Scientific Terms

Obesity, calorie, BMI

### Materials

The materials required for the science fair project experiment:
- 200 children aged between 15  and  18 years old
- a measuring tape
- a flat wall
- a weighing machine
- 1 roll of masking tape

### Procedure

1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the number of hours the participants spend playing video game per week. The dependent variable is  the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the participant. This is determined by calculating  the BMI of the participant after measuring their height and weight. The constants (control variables) are the age of the participants and the number of participants  in each group.

2. The measuring tape is fixed  to  the wall using  masking tape.  A weighing machine is  placed beside it so that the weight of the participant can be taken  immediately after checking the participant's height.

3. The participants are individually interviewed to find out the number of hours they spend per week playing video games. Based on the number of hours spent playing video games, they are then divided into 4 groups as follows :

a. less than 30 hours per week

b. between 30 hours and 40 hours per week

c. between 40 hours and 50 hours per week

d. over 50 hours per week

The number of persons in each group is then counted and recorded in the table given below.

4. Next, measure the participants' heights. Their weight is measured next in kilograms. Using the formulae given below, the participant’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated. Using the BMI value and the information given below, it is  determined  whether the participant has a normal weight, is overweight or obese.

BMI = [weight (kg)]/ [height (m) x height (m)]

BMI less than 18.5 – underweight

BMI between 18.6  and 24.9 – normal

BMI between 24.9  and l 29.9 – overweight

BMI more than 30.0 – obese

5. The number of obese, overweight and normal participants for each group is totaled and recorded in the table given below.

### Observation

It is observed that as the number of hours spent on video games per week increases, the percentage of obesity among children also increases.

 Hours spent on video game per week Persons in group Obese Overweight Normal % obese Less than 30 hours 63 5 7 51 8.0% Between 30 to 40 hours 68 16 19 33 23.5% Between 40 to 50 hours 47 17 21 9 36.1% Over 50 hours 22 12 9 1 54.5%

The chart below represents the results of our science experiment:

### Conclusion

Our hypothesis has been proven to be correct. Children who spend a large number of hours playing video games are at greater risk of being overweight, and in some cases obese.

Obesity can lead to many health problems like hypertension, high cholesterol levels, heart diseases and many more. Addiction to television and too much video gaming has become one of the reasons for obesity in children. Children should be encouraged to get out of the house and play outdoors more often to improve their strength and stamina, build healthy muscles and bones, and help them reduce their weight. The number of hours they spend watching television and playing video games should be restricted.

### Also consider

To improve the reliability and accuracy of our results, a larger sample of participants should be used.

This science fair project may be repeated, this time, to evaluate the relationship between watching television and obesity.

The science fair project can  also  be repeated, tracking the calorie intake of video gamers and their respective BMI.

### References

Video games and obesity, best evidence yet - http://www.healthcentral.com/drdean/408/60891.html