Feb 27, 2012 6:27 PM
(NBC) - It is possible for kids to work up a sweat dancing and biking their way through interactive video games,
but new research indicates kids aren't necessarily more physically active just because they're playing those games.
"I don't think this is so much discouraging as it's just to me more of a reality check," says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Susan Joy.
The study from Baylor College of Medicine included about 80 kids.
Half were given active video games -- giving them the opportunity to move their bodies.
The other half received more sedentary games.
All of the children wore accelerometers that measured their activity levels for more than a month.
Researchers say they were shocked by the results.
"They ended up finding not much of a difference between the two groups," says Dr. Joy.
Even though lab studies have shown kids can get an intense work-out with video games, it appears that in the real world setting of this study kids were literally just going through the motions, finding low-intensity ways of playing the games.
While there's other evidence active video games can help seniors improve balance and coordination, the junior leaguers may benefit more from the real thing.
Experts suggest kids may be more active when families play games together.