Saturday, April 02, 2005

Dance Dance Revolution to Fight Obesity

Dance Dance Revolution is a Video game that has some real health benefits:

Read the story here:

"Like many 11-year-old boys, K.D. Jones loves sports. But at 5 feet, 175 pounds, he found his weight and the asthma it caused an obstacle to enjoying many activities. His doctor wanted him to lose 50 pounds, and he's hoping a new health study using video games to fight obesity will help him get down to 125 by the end of summer in time to play football.

Jones is one of 85 children being recruited by the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency to participate in an at-home study using the video game Dance Dance Revolution to increase activity.

He lost about 10 pounds by changing his diet. Now after two weeks playing the game, he's lost another 10.

"I feel a lot better," he said. "It's a lot easier to play basketball now."

His enthusiasm has his mother, who struggles with her own weight issues, giving the game a try.

"It's a lot of fun," Joyce Jones said. "But I can only do it about two times for every four times he does."

PEIA, which covers 215,000 public employees, teachers and their dependents, believes it is the first insurance provider to use the game to cut costs. Konami Digital Entertainment America, which distributes the Japanese game in the United States, knows of no other state or insurance agency using the game for its health benefits.

"Today's kids are tomorrow's members," said Nidia Henderson, PEIA health promotions manager. "Obesity claims last year cost us $77 million. We have to curtail those costs."

PEIA is providing a game console, dance pad and software for the six-month, $60,000 Games for Health study. West Virginia University is providing the medical screenings and tracking results.

The students, all children of PEIA-covered employees, are required to meet with researchers, play the game a prescribed amount of time, wear a pedometer and maintain a log. They get to keep the game software and pad."

I have tried this game and the exercise is rigorous and most importantly FUN!

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