New research suggests that when it comes to frantic wrist-waggling, Americans are in a league of their own.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has just revealed the number of calories burned by a team of students playing virtual sports on Nintendo's Will console: digital bowling burns 3.9 calories (strictly, 'nutritional kilocalories') a minute, tennis expends 5.3 calories, while boxing KO's the opposition with a mighty 7.2 calories burned every 60 seconds.
The research was carried out at the University of Wisconsin and concluded that playing Wii Sports significantly increases heart rate, maximum oxygen uptake and calorie expenditure.
Scousers cannot compete
If true, these figures knock Britain's digital Olympians for six. A similar report on Wii playing from Liverpool John Moores University, published by the British Medical Journal in 2007, found that our school kids are lagging dangerously behind their American counterparts.
The Scouser students expended a paltry 2.8 calories per minute while bowling, an asthmatic 3.0 calories a minute as they feebly flapped their virtual tennis racquets and a frankly embarrassing 2.9 calories for every 60 seconds they spent in the Wii's boxing ring.
That means that over the course of an hour-long boxing session, energetic Yanks would have burned off over 250 more calories than lazy Limeys. Luckily, that's the equivalent of less than a single Krispy Kreme doughnut, so we're still about four corn dogs, a gallon of root beer and a cheese-covered Twinkie ahead on the deal.
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Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.