Taipei - A Taiwan couple were sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after their child starved to death while they played online games for hours every day, local media reported Friday.

Wang Hui-huang, 23, and his wife Chu Miao-hsu, 22, were sentenced by the Taiwan High Court this week for causing the death of their 1-year-old daughter through negligence.

Investigators found that the couple were playing 5 to 6 hours of subscription-based online video games each day when their child was found dead in February 2011.

The baby weighed only 3.25 kilograms at her time of death, less than half the average weight for her age, the Apple Daily reported.

The couple had claimed that they did not know how to take care of their baby, and were forced to switch to feeding her rice water because they could not afford the cost of formula.

Wang worked as a janitor for around 10 000 Taiwan dollars per month (333 US dollars).

The High Court overturned a lower court ruling that gave the couple a lighter sentence of just over five years and four months due to their young age and financial situation.

But the High Court cited the couple's behaviour of paying to play video games as a clear example of negligence, and increased the sentence. - Sapa-dpa