Heart association backs video games in obesity campaign

Talk about strange bedfellows: The American Heart Association and Nintendo Co. are teaming up to promote the popular Wii video game console, reports the Associated Press, as the health advocacy group concedes that its campaign for traditional exercise isn’t working. The surprising partnership, announced May 17, comes amid growing concern about obesity among kids who spend much of their time watching television and playing video games. Nintendo will be able to brand its Wii products with the AHA’s iconic heart logo to let consumers know that the organization considers the items a healthy choice. Nintendo will donate $1.5 million to the AHA as part of the partnership. “We can keep beating the drum on traditional exercise and make small changes to the obesity epidemic, or we can try something that is really provocative and new,” said AHA President Clyde Yancy. Numerous studies show a correlation between obesity and the amount of time children spend with television and video games. Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, said the best solution is simply to cut the cord and encourage youths to spend less time in front of screens. But the AHA said it is endorsing the Wii because it will encourage sedentary Americans to take the first step toward fitness. With 70 percent of Americans doing no regular physical activity at all, the AHA wants to find a way to reach out to people turned off by gyms and traditional sports. The organization said its studies show that 40 percent of those who don’t exercise say it’s not entertaining enough. The AHA says the Wii addresses this fun factor…

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