Games consoles such as the new Nintendo Wii require players to use body movements to control the action. Youngsters using traditional consoles tend to be seated.
A study by Liverpool John Moores University has found that regular use of the new Wii computer games could help shift 27lbs (12.25kg) a year.
Researchers measured the impact of gaming on five girls and seven boys, aged 13 to 15, playing both an active and inactive console. During 15 minutes of play using a traditional joypad-operated console, energy expenditure increased above resting values by an average 60 per cent. In comparison, when using the Wii console, the participants' energy expenditure increased 156 per cent above resting. Based on the average gaming week of 12.2 hours, this translates to a potential 1,830 calories burned per week when using Wii - 40 per cent more than when using a traditional format console.
Tim Cable, lead researcher, said: "Through our testing it is clear that the motion sensor-controlled console can make an impact on a child's heart rate, energy expenditure and amount of calories burned."