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Wii Fit a promising tool for all ages
Date:1/6/2009

xpenditure, like playing a game of soccer, which demands much more energy expenditure than bowling or playing the outfield in baseball.

Dzewaltowski said Wii Fit can be an effective tool to create or maintain a healthy lifestyle for some people because it follows the basic principles for adhering to an exercise program, like having physical activity goals, tracking those goals and evaluating the progress.

Wii Fit measures players' body mass index, or BMI, which is a weight evaluation based on height and weight. Dzewaltowski said this a good screening tool for adults, meaning if the game categorizes them as being overweight or obese, they should seek more information from a health professional who can better evaluate the level of body fat. However, he said the calculation is unsuitable for children.

"For children, the BMI calculation has to be expressed based on age and gender growth charts, and it doesn't do that," Dzewaltowski said. "Due to children's age and gender differences in growth, the adult BMI calculators don't work. My use of the Wii BMI calculator showed that it was inappropriate for children and would categorize children incorrectly."

The game also gives players a Wii Fit Age, which is measured by the player's BMI and their center of gravity and balance testing. However, Dzewaltowski doesn't think the measurement is credible.

For personal goals, he said it is more important to focus on behaviors such as physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption rather than the game's BMI and fitness age measurements.

Dzewaltowski said it could be healthy for gamers to solely rely on Wii Fit for exercise if they are meeting the guidelines for physical activity set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

He said future technologies should continue to promote physical activity if they make exercise enjoyable, especially for adults.

"I also believe that adults enjoy movement if
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Contact: David Dzewaltowski
dadx@k-state.edu
785-532-6765
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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