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Active Gaming Helps Fight Childhood Obesity

by PCFSN January 18, 2011

Excercise Gaming

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending one of the largest electronics shows in the world—the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada and experiencing the latest and greatest in active gaming. While we often associate technology with sedentary living as we text, email, or watch a screen, it can also be a tool for good. Active gaming is one way technology can encourage and promote physical activity and meet youth and adults wherever they are on the ability spectrum.

The Healthy People 2020 physical activity objectives include measures for screen time with the goal of limiting television or video game exposure to no more than 2 hours a day for youth ages 2-18 years old. However, that does not mean that the allotted 2 hours cannot include some active gaming—like active options that may be part of a comprehensive physical education curriculum.

Before attending CES I had an opportunity to see first-hand how active gaming can play a role in physical education at Kenny Guinn Middle School. Nestled within the 5th largest school district in the Nation, their physical education classes use active gaming as a way to help integrate special needs students with their peers. When the teacher asked who was excited to do some active gaming, everyone yelled “Me!” As the students rotated through the stations, I had the opportunity to work out with them. Very soon I realized that I couldn’t tell who was ‘challenged’ or not. To me they were all excited kids being active…jumping, kicking, and punching. No one was singled out or separated and each student participated to the best of their ability. And not only were they doing active gaming but they also learned about body mass index (BMI) by using bio impedence machines and ipods.

Keeping a level playing field is important as we work towards meeting the goals outlined in Healthy People 2020. Active gaming is a great way to meet youth where they are and is a fun way to promote sustained movement regardless of one’s age, fitness level or ability. After all, if my 88-year-old grandmother can play a bowling videogame and love it, I know I can too!

So, what is your favorite active game? And where do you see fitness technology taking us in the future?

**Image Caption: Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition getting her daily dose of physical activity the active gaming way with the students of Kenny Guinn Middle School, Las Vegas, NV.

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Comments

1/22/2011 3:24:49 AM #

Congratulations to the US government's health services for seeing the tremendous health and fitness benefits offered by quality commercial ExerGaming solutions. These solutions demand physical interaction and get kids moving at levels that will satisfy and exceed all state requirements for school age MVPA. ExerGaming (Active Gaming) is a tremendously engaging and sustainable 'NOW' generation solution to tackle our endemic obesity and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, not just in the US but globally. Great work!

Brett Young Australia |

2/5/2011 6:27:43 PM #

Thanks for sharing this article. I had a major problem with weight when I was in high school. The main reason for this was that I sat in my room playing Halo 2 and Halo 3 on my Xbox 360 all day! It's really a shame that so many kids go home from school and plop themselves right in front of the computer or their gaming console. My mom is a 4th grade teacher and she's heard of kids that come home from school and play video games until the moment they go to sleep. The only time they get up to move is at school!!! What's worse is that when they come home from school they're usually so hungry that they head straight to the pantry for a bag of chips. I think active gaming such as Wii Fit is a great way to get kids fit because it's kind of using their own medicine against them, if you know what I mean? I've played Wii bowling with my friend's little brother and he loves it! However, I believe there's no true substitute for the real thing and going to play some soccer outside. But... if they are going to play video games it might as well be something where they are moving around like dance dnace revolution. It's really upsetting that one out of three children born today are going to develop diabetes, I'm upset about it. I decided to start a health and nutrition blog to try and educate people on what a healthy lifestyle REALLY is. Check it out! Nutrition is the solution!
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Smile stay healthy for me!

Anonymous United States |

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