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Chandler Godfrey1, Jennifer F. Oody1, Scott A. Conger, FACSM2, Jeremy A. Steeves1. 1Maryville College, Maryville, TN. 2Boise State University, Boise, ID.

Background: While 80% of youth do not meet daily physical activity (PA) guidelines, 90% of youth play video games for <1 hour daily. Virtual reality (VR) exergames are a form of active video game. The primary aim of the study was to compare the exercise intensity of two Oculus Quest 2 VR games (Beat Saber (BS) and Thrill of the Fight (TOF)) to conventional seated video gaming and treadmill walking. Methods: Twenty-three youth (15M) ages 8-12 completed 10-min sessions of five conditions: seated rest, conventional seated video game (Katamari Forever on PS3), treadmill walking (3 mph), and BS and TOF VR games. TOF is a semi-realistic boxing simulator that requires players to mimic the skills and tasks of a real bout such as aiming punches, blocking, dodging, and moving around the ring, while BS requires players to perform upper body movements to avoid obstacles and destroy oncoming shapes according to the rhythm of a song. Exercise intensity was measured via heart rate (HR) and VO2. Steady-state values between min 4 and 8 of each condition were averaged for analysis. Repeated measures ANOVA compared HR and VO2 between conditions. Results: Participants average age was 9.4±1.1 years. Approximately 61% were classified as healthy weight, 4% overweight, and 35% obese using CDC Growth Charts. All three active conditions (treadmill walking (134±16 bpm), VR BS (118±13 bpm) and VR TOF (140±15 bpm) had significantly higher (p<0.001) HR values compared to rest (93±12 bpm) and seated video game (93±12 bpm). There were no differences between the HR (p=0.76) response of treadmill walking or VR TOF. VR BS HR values were significantly different (p<0.001) from all other conditions. Similarly, for VO2, treadmill walking (16.8±2.8 mL/kg/min), VR BS (8.9±3.4 mL/kg/min) and VR TOF (15.4±3.9 mL/kg/min) had significantly higher (p<0.001) values compared to rest (4.4±1.5 mL/kg/min) and seated video game (4.2±1.4 mL/kg/min). There were no differences between the VO2 (p=0.71) response of treadmill walking or VR TOF. VR BS VO2 values were significantly different (p<0.001) from all other conditions. Conclusion: VR can increase energy expenditure above traditional gaming. The exercise intensity of the VR games matched treadmill walking and was influenced by game type. VR exergames can be used as a PA outlet to meet health recommendations for youth interested in video games.

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