A study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine analysed 18 children between the ages of six and 12 who played a series of games.
The children rested for five minutes, then played a seated computer bowling game, an active bowling game and an action/running game - each for five minutes.
Researchers from the University of Hong Kong found that children burned 39 per cent more calories per minute when playing a seated game than when resting.
However, when playing active bowling they burned 98 per cent more calories, and when playing the action/running game they burned 451 per cent more.
The study authors wrote: "Our data demonstrate that the two active gaming formats result in meaningful increases in energy expenditure compared with the seated screen environment.
"The next step is to test whether active gaming interventions can provide sustainable increases in childhood physical activity."
The finding suggests that encouraging children to play active video games rather than seated games could help to increase calorie expenditure and reduce the risk of unwanted weight gain.