Video games and couch potatoes. The two used to go hand in hand, but some health experts say that is slowly changing.

For years, video games have been one of the leading culprits blamed for childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyles among young people.

But in the past few years, some of the most popular video games make players sweat and get the heart rate up and are just as addicting as those that exercise only the thumbs. And some schools have been using the games in their physical education curriculum to get students fired up about fitness.

“It’s a huge positive,” said Shelly Allen, P.E. teacher at Midvale Middle School. “A few years ago, if a child was playing video games it meant they were being sedentary, but now with things like DDR (“Dance Dance Revolution”) and the Wii, video games are getting a better reputation among health advocates.”

And Frank Wojtech, P.E. specialist for the State Office of Education, said anything that gets students moving, period, would be welcome in the schools.

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