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Of Wii and Nutrition

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

by Marie Dufour, RD

   Scientific research from Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., of the University of South Carolina in Columbia suggests that active video games may counteract weight problems in children. The new research links active video gaming (i.e. Wii Fit) to increased energy expenditure. WOW! Who would have guessed? Any housewife –pardon me, Domestic Engineer– knows that she sweats more when she vacuums the house than when she watches her soaps; and any week-end gardener — or Proud Homeowner — gets his heart pumping with lawn-mowing and tree-pruning to make-up for his couch-potatoe-ing in front of a 3-hour football game.

   OK, stereotypes and sarcasm aside, a new dawn has sprung on video gaming: active gaming. And it’s a good thing, really, not only for children but also for their parents. It’s not just the children who are struck by the obesity “epidemic” (as if obesity were a communicable disease–and may be it is, in certain ways); their parents’ waist line is growing too. Therefore, I have high hopes for the long-term results of active video gaming: children move more, perhaps play more with their parents, everybody expends more energy and keep their weight gain in check. Not being a Wii expert, I can’t tell you which game burns more energy, but I’m sure this can be researched.

   What disturbs me more is the typical activity associated with television-watching in general, and video-gaming in particular. Anyone who has stood in line at FRY’s between the unending rows of chips, cookies and candy can relate. Snacking has become engrained in our TV/video culture. High-fat, high-sugar, simple carb snacks, ice cream and soda are the typical couch-side companions of the juvenile (and adult) video gamer. Dr. Pate advocates to fight fire with fire. I concur. Since video gaming is entrenched in our society, let’s pave the way for active gaming. I’d say, “Bring’em on!”

   But, here’s a tip for the marketers of active video games. Make your product a full healthy experience. Bring us a “GAME + SNACK” package, with a specific AVF (Active Video Fitness) snack pack. Oh, I can see it on the shelf, the ACME-AVF-Triathlete Pack, with sports cap water bottle, dehydrated apple slices, sugar-free gum, and any other orally gratifying implement. That’s right, we might have put away baby bottle and pacifier a long time ago, our generation still seeks oral gratification. But more on that in a later blog.

Filed under: diet, childhood obesity, health, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, obesity

by Marie Dufour, RD

   Scientific research from Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., of the University of South Carolina in Columbia suggests that active video games may counteract weight problems in children. The new research links active video gaming (i.e. Wii Fit) to increased energy expenditure. WOW! Who would have guessed? Any housewife –pardon me, Domestic Engineer– knows that she sweats more when she vacuums the house than when she watches her soaps; and any week-end gardener — or Proud Homeowner — gets his heart pumping with lawn-mowing and tree-pruning to make-up for his couch-potatoe-ing in front of a 3-hour football game.

   OK, stereotypes and sarcasm aside, a new dawn has sprung on video gaming: active gaming. And it’s a good thing, really, not only for children but also for their parents. It’s not just the children who are struck by the obesity “epidemic” (as if obesity were a communicable disease–and may be it is, in certain ways); their parents’ waist line is growing too. Therefore, I have high hopes for the long-term results of active video gaming: children move more, perhaps play more with their parents, everybody expends more energy and keep their weight gain in check. Not being a Wii expert, I can’t tell you which game burns more energy, but I’m sure this can be researched.

   What disturbs me more is the typical activity associated with television-watching in general, and video-gaming in particular. Anyone who has stood in line at FRY’s between the unending rows of chips, cookies and candy can relate. Snacking has become engrained in our TV/video culture. High-fat, high-sugar, simple carb snacks, ice cream and soda are the typical couch-side companions of the juvenile (and adult) video gamer. Dr. Pate advocates to fight fire with fire. I concur. Since video gaming is entrenched in our society, let’s pave the way for active gaming. I’d say, “Bring’em on!”

   But, here’s a tip for the marketers of active video games. Make your product a full healthy experience. Bring us a “GAME + SNACK” package, with a specific AVF (Active Video Fitness) snack pack. Oh, I can see it on the shelf, the ACME-AVF-Triathlete Pack, with sports cap water bottle, dehydrated apple slices, sugar-free gum, and any other orally gratifying implement. That’s right, we might have put away baby bottle and pacifier a long time ago, our generation still seeks oral gratification. But more on that in a later blog.

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