Bellissimo and his team at the FIRST lab.

Photo Courtesy Dana Yates

The newest way to curb calories: video games

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By Eden Mitelman

Ryerson nutrition professor Nick Bellissimo found that children who play video games before a meal eat fewer calories.

Bellissimo, along with the team at Ryerson’s Food Intake Regulation and Satiety Testing (FIRST) Laboratory were interested in looking at factors that may prevent unhealthy body weights in children.

“We are dealing with a major public health issue with [child] obesity,” said Bellissimo.

FIRST Laboratory recruited 19 boys between the ages of nine and 14 to look at the effects of playing video games before mealtime.

After the boys played 30 minutes of Angry Birds, Bellissimo said that they ate 50 fewer calories than those who didn’t play.

“We got this outlier result, compared to what we have been told by numerous studies that screen time and sedentary behaviour is unhealthy,” he said.

Bellissimo plans to further research factors like timing between screen time exposure and meals and using different types of video games.

“These studies need to be done because screen time, handheld devices and video games are not going away,” said Bellissimo.

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