Researchers are giving a thumbs-up to the use of interactive video games as a way of promoting fitness with young people.

The University of Calgary’s Canadian Exergaming Research Centre has spent the past couple of years testing Grade 3 and 4 students who have been playing a variety of interactive video games ranging from snowboarding to dancing, to golf.

Dr. Larry Katz, who heads the centre, says children who took part in the study have improved their sense of balance by an average of 25 per cent for Grade 3 students and 29 per cent for those in Grade 4.

He says it is not a substitute for sports or gym class, but it may encourage kids to do more than just sit in front of their computer or TV.

Katz says video fitness games are also a good way to fight childhood obesity.

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