TORONTO - Active video games may help get kids off the couch, but child fitness advocates say they shouldn't be seen as a substitute for real exercise.

Active Healthy Kids Canada has released its official position on active video games after convening an international panel of researchers to look at the latest evidence on the subject.

The organization says "exergames" are a good way to break up the time kids spend being sedentary. However, they're not as good as having kids play real active games or sports.

The group also says playing active video games doesn't lead to increased overall daily physical activity levels.

It is recommended that Canadian children and youth get at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity daily.

In its Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth released in May, Active Healthy Kids Canada found that kids were only getting 24 minutes of such activity daily at lunch and after school.

The report card also found 63 per cent of kids' free time after school and on weekends was spent being sedentary — a reference to activities that involve little physical movement and a low expenditure of energy.

Walking quickly, skating and bike riding are examples of moderate-intensity physical activities, while running, basketball, soccer and cross-country skiing are examples of vigorous activities.

"The research shows the movement in active video games may get heart rates up briefly, but usually not enough to meaningfully contribute to the 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity children and youth require daily," Active Healthy Kids Canada chief scientific officer Mark Tremblay said in a statement on Monday.

"Active video games also don’t offer the fresh air, vitamin D, connection with nature and social interactions that come with outdoor active play."

In its official position, Active Healthy Kids Canada did outline potential upsides to using the technology. For kids with developmental delays, movement challenges or injuries, the group noted in its recommendations that such games can be used to help teach motor skills, improve movement and rehabilitate.

The international panel of researchers convened by Active Healthy Kids Canada conducted a review of best-available scientific evidence examining 1,367 published papers.

SEE: Fun ways to help kids get fit:

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  • Jump Rope

    Constantly on the go? "Stick it in your bag," says Patel. "It's something you can do anywhere you are." A solo jump-rope workout, like this <a href="" target="_hplink">10-minute sculpting routine</a> from <em>Fitness</em> magazine, can burn over 100 calories, and tone the shoulders, chest arms and legs. Some gyms even offer <a href="" target="_hplink">jump-rope fitness classes</a>. Or, if a less structured jump sounds more like your thing, grab some friends for some Double Dutch. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">adwriter</a></em>

  • Hula Hoop

    While she's recently taken to <a href="" target="_hplink">jumping jacks</a>, First Lady Michelle Obama is a big proponent of hula hooping as a fun way to get active. In 2009, she <a href="" target="_hplink">performed 142 "swivels"</a> before dropping her hoop at a healthy kids fair at the White House, the AP reported. But it's not just for kids! And now, with weighted hoops, hula hooping can produce even more dramatic results. It <a href="" target="_hplink">helped Jen Moore lose 140 pounds</a>. "It's something you can do in front of the TV," says Patel, "rain or shine!" <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">stringberd</a></em>

  • Play On The Playground

    "You may be surprised how much you actually <a href="" target="_hplink">work your arms and abs while on the swings</a>," National Academy of Sports Medicine instructor Rick Richey told You'll work leg muscles climbing the stairs up to the slide and arms and abs from swinging from the monkey bars, he added. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">colorblindPICASO</a></em>

  • Dance

    There's a reason so many celebs have <a href="" target="_hplink">slimmed down during stints on reality TV show "Dancing With The Stars."</a> Dancing is a serious cardio workout -- but can feel more like a party. "Dance, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to get in shape, as you're working multiple muscle groups all at the same time that in turn keeps your body constantly challenged," fitness expert <a href="" target="_hplink">Tracey Mallett told HuffPost in April</a>. <a href="" target="_hplink">Try a class like Zumba</a>, or burn calories more surreptitiously with salsa lessons or a night on the town! <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">John Bollwitt</a></em>

  • Skate

    Ice skating, one of our <a href="" target="_hplink">favorite winter workouts</a>, can burn up to 500 calories an hour. Inline skating can burn over <a href=",,20420506_2,00.html" target="_hplink">400 calories in just 30 minutes</a>, according to, thanks to the side-to-side movement in your lower body, plus the way your core engages to keep you balanced. You'll also seriously work the smaller <a href="" target="_hplink">lower-body muscles</a> that play key roles in keeping you upright. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">kcolwell</a></em>

  • Skip-It

    Who can forget this classic '80s fitness fad? The ankle hoop counted rotations as the user swung the attached ball around and around and around. <em>TIME</em> named the Skip-It one of the <a href=",28804,2049243_2048660_2049212,00.html" target="_hplink">100 greatest toys of all time</a>. Not only is it a cardio workout similar to jump-roping, you'll also engage the core and lower-body muscles used for balance. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">zingersb</a></em>

  • Hopscotch

    Think outside the sidewalk-chalk box! You can mix up traditional hopscotch jumps by moving side to side as if hitting each corner of a square, as shown in <a href="" target="_hplink">this video</a> or by focusing on <a href="" target="_hplink">balancing on one foot</a>, according to FitBie. Think of hopscotch as essentially a <a href="" target="_hplink">plyometrics workout</a>, which has been shown to <a href="" target="_hplink">improve running performance</a>. You can even hop <a href="" target="_hplink">indoors with masking tape</a>, suggests popular fitness blogger MizFit. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Brandon Koger</a></em>

  • Pogo Stick

    While it will undoubtedly take some practice to work up to 10 minutes of jumping on a pogo stick at a time, it can be a fun cardio workout, burning <a href=" " target="_hplink">20 to 40 calories in those 10 minutes</a>. Pogo stick company Vurtego claims celebrity fans such as <a href="" target="_hplink">Matthew McConaughey and Allison Hannigan</a>. Just make sure to practice on a flat, open area and consider wearing some protective gear in case there are tumbles! <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">sean dreilinger</a></em>

  • Moon Shoes

    The <a href="" target="_hplink">"anti-gravity" shoes</a> popular in the '80s just may be the precursor to today's <a href="" target="_hplink">Kangoo Jumps</a>, running boots of a sort with springs on the soles, used in classes at various gyms and by solo adventurous fitness fans. But that bounce isn't only playful, it's also an easier workout on your joints than running or jumping. Kangoo Jumps <a href="" target="_hplink">absorb up to 80 percent of the shock</a>, Beth Kruper, a Kangoo Jumps rep, told ABC. And they may up the calorie burn, too. "When you run in them you're using more muscles than you would in sneakers," Kruper said. "So if you usually burn 100 calories in a mile, you'll burn 130 to 140." <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">magnificent momma</a></em>

  • Paintball Or Laser Tag

    Take group fitness to a competitive level with an outing to a nearby paintball or laser tag arena. While it's tough to estimate <a href="" target="_hplink">the number of calories you'll burn</a>, it'll definitely have you running, jumping, squatting and crawling, all in the name of the game, with some <a href="" target="_hplink">bursts of anaerobic sprinting</a> to boot. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Greg Boege</a></em>

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