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Digital games emerge as new tool to foster health, exercise: Playing for health

Entire Gaming Setup

Entire Gaming Setup (Photo credit: Cinder6)

The Wii console by Nintendo. Featured with the...

The Wii console by Nintendo. Featured with the Wiimote. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Digital games emerge as new tool to foster health, exercise: Playing for health

From the Nation’s Health

These days, students at Halcyon Elementary School in Montgomery, Ala., cannot wait to get to physical education class.

As part of Alabama’s Wee Can Fight Obesity campaign, Halcyon Elementary is one of dozens of schools that received a free Nintendo Wii Fit, a video game system that requires players to move around to earn points, also known as ‘exergaming.’

“They don’t even realize they’re exercising,” said Audrey Gillis, the school’s PE teacher. “It’s fabulous.”

Gillis’ students use the Wii two to three times a week during the 30-minute PE class and “they just love it — we actually had some of the little children cry because it wasn’t their Wii day,” she said.

“These kids are active for 30 minutes straight — they don’t stop,” Gillis told The Nation’s Health. “If we can get them to enjoy physical activity as children, then they’re more likely to stay physically active as adults.”

Gillis’ experience is just one example of the growing intersections between public health and digital games. While using game-related challenges in public health endeavors is not new, video games and avatar-based simulations are emerging as an effective way of teaching healthy behaviors.

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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