Nintendo Wii gets the Heart Foundation tick of approval.

#1 Posted by oldschool (7264 posts) -
Source  
 

Heart group backs video games in obesity campaign 

Health advocacy group forms unlikely alliance, endorses video games in obesity campaign    

 
   NEW YORK (AP) -- Talk about strange bedfellows. The American Heart Association and Nintendo Co. are teaming up to promote the popular Wii video game console, as the health advocacy group concedes that its campaign for traditional exercise isn't working.

The surprising partnership, announced Monday, 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," Clyde Yancy, the AHA's president, said in an interview.

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 that it's not entertaining enough. The AHA says the Wii addresses the fun factor.

The Wii, which has sold more than 30 million consoles across the Americas, comes with a controller that encourages people to physically move as they play. Sports-style games such as baseball and boxing let players move their arms to simulate the pitching of a ball or the throwing of a punch. Nintendo also makes a foot pad accessory, the Wii Fit, that allows players to try dance steps or yoga.

The heart icon covers the Wii console itself along with two of its more active games, Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort.

Many of the Wii games are less physically demanding. Some puzzle titles, for instance, let players adjust shapes through small twists of the wrist.

Wii players say that the level of physical exertion varies greatly by player.

Maria Lambiris, an 18-year-old illustrations student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, said the game system recently helped her lose five pounds.

"You really get into it sometimes and you can use your whole body," Lambiris said.

But her classmate Maki Yang, 19, was quick to point out that sometimes it's easier and more fun to cheat.

"You can just do this with your wrist," Yang said while flicking her wrist slightly, "and you do even better in the game."

But while many of the games may not offer the same level of physical activity as traditional sports, they may help get some people started on a healthier lifestyle.

"It is a first step for someone who is entirely sedentary," Yancy said.

Yancy said that once that person becomes motivated, he or she can access a website Nintendo and the AHA are developing to help monitor exercise and diet plans.

Rival game console makers Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp., cognizant of the Wii's popularity, are also developing motion controllers. Microsoft's Natal, for instance, wouldn't require a physical controller; players would use their bodies to control their video game characters. The AHA said it wasn't currently in discussions with those companies.

 
 
 
 
The nature of of games is surely changing.  You don't get much more mainstream than this.  Although this applies to the console itself, I can't see Microsoft and Sony achieving the same outcome, as only Nintendo Wii is designed with motion controls as the very basis of its product.  Perhaps they would seek to get the approval for just the peripherals and games developed for it.  The very fact that Sony and Microsoft are in discussions surely shows just how hard they are seeking to gather some of that market which Nintendo has so successfully created and cornered. 
 
I don't think there are any of us here in hardcore game land that really care about such a move, but many of you will have an opinion, so how about sharing it?
#2 Posted by Khann (2612 posts) -

This is kinda ridiculous. Just seems like something for Nintendo to throw on the box.
 
What needs to happen more than promoting exercise, is somehow (fucked if I know how) getting healthy food to be as cheap and convenient as a burger and a bag of chips.

#3 Edited by Geno (6479 posts) -

Good notion, but none of the listed games will make a caloric dent in their target audience, that is obese people. The typical activities of Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort mean moving arms around, or at most, periodically shifting the torso. As a comparison, an hour of running (moving the entire body constantly) loses about 300-400 calories. The Wii games would make them lose about 70-100 an hour, judging by the activity level. Obese people, in order to become obese typically eat at least 3000 calories a day, exceeding the recommended dietary amount by at least 1000 calories. Therefore nothing short of a strict diet and gym regimen would reduce their weight effectively. Even the "first step" idea is not particularly wholesome since obese people are typically lacking in willpower and need all of the encouragement and support they can get. The negligible or non-existent weight loss from such a program involving only the Wii Fit (if they are led to believe that it is all they require to lose weight, like some people believe Cheerios is all you need to reduce cholesterol) would likely discourage them from pursuing a healthier lifestyle by taking up other physical activities.  
 
I personally believe that the best way to fight obesity is public education about the biochemical processes that govern the human metabolism. Only in understanding that will people be able to clearly see what actions they should take and for what time period in order to gain an effect at the macroscopic level, or in other words, to lose weight. 

#4 Edited by oldschool (7264 posts) -
@Khann said:

" This is kinda ridiculous. Just seems like something for Nintendo to throw on the box.  What needs to happen more than promoting exercise, is somehow (fucked if I know how) getting healthy food to be as cheap and convenient as a burger and a bag of chips. "

I kind of of have dealings with the Heart Foundation in my line of work.  The logo is what funds them as such.  It is a business, but a good one, as it is promoting good health.  However, even McDonalds can get some of their food with the logo and that is just bad in my view. 
 
Healthy food is quite often cheaper than junk food however.  I know in my area, for the price of a Mars Bar, I can buy about 5 pears or apples.  Sure as hell the fruit is healthier and there is more of it.  It isn't just that junk is cheap, relatively speaking, it is more that it is convenient, or perceived to be. 
 
In the end, this is pure marketing and nothing else.  It is much harder to put a Heart Foundation on something far more healthy, like kicking a ball with your mates.  There is no money to be made there.  These logos should always be viewed through the eyes of a business model, but aside from that, they do a lot of good work with the money.
#5 Posted by Emilio (3380 posts) -

It only cost them 1.5 Million Dollars!

#6 Posted by fini_fly (767 posts) -

Good for them. Now if only they can find a ways to deal with the elbow tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome from all the Wii remote waggling.

#7 Posted by Organicalistic_ (2954 posts) -
@fini_fly said:
" Good for them. Now if only they can find a ways to deal with the elbow tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome from all the Wii remote waggling. "
lol they need to
#8 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Wii Fit Plus made me feel like shit about myself by making my Mii a fat piece of crap so I drowned my sorrows in ice cream.

#9 Posted by oldschool (7264 posts) -
@ryanwho said:
" Wii Fit Plus made me feel like shit about myself by making my Mii a fat piece of crap so I drowned my sorrows in ice cream. "
Maybe you are just a fat piece of crap and you just handle the truth?  It made my Mii look pretty damn fat too ............... screw it, I am going to have ice cream too  :/
#10 Posted by Tebbit (4435 posts) -

I've always wanted to eat my Wii, and now I have the perfect excuse! 
 
Except Mario Galaxy 2 is coming out in a few months. GOD DAMN YOU NINTENDO!!!

#11 Posted by KingBroly (1645 posts) -
@Tebbit said:
" I've always wanted to eat my Wii, and now I have the perfect excuse!  Except Mario Galaxy 2 is coming out in a few months. GOD DAMN YOU NINTENDO!!! "
You might want to check the calendar again.
#12 Posted by MrKlorox (11186 posts) -

#13 Posted by mrfizzy (1464 posts) -
@oldschool: i would like this except that i know that the heart foundation simply whores the tick out to whoever pays them enough. Evidenced by the fact that they have just got into bed with mcdonalds.  
#14 Posted by oldschool (7264 posts) -
@mrfizzy said:
" @oldschool: i would like this except that i know that the heart foundation simply whores the tick out to whoever pays them enough. Evidenced by the fact that they have just got into bed with mcdonalds.   "
100% agree with you.  That is why I said you have to see them as a business model.  When they sell the logo, you are entitled to be a little suspicious.  If they truly were serious, they wouldn't associate with a brand that is perhaps a pathway to all of the bad stuff to begin with, and even though I love games, I understand the risks that are attached and parents can see the tick, not think for themselves and believe everything is just fine, which it invariably isn't.
#15 Posted by Tebbit (4435 posts) -
@KingBroly said:
" @Tebbit said:
" I've always wanted to eat my Wii, and now I have the perfect excuse!  Except Mario Galaxy 2 is coming out in a few months. GOD DAMN YOU NINTENDO!!! "
You might want to check the calendar again. "
Nah, May 23rd is all very well for people living in the northern hemisphere, but down here in New Zealand, we gotta wait till July the 1st! It's a fucking jip.
#16 Posted by Willy105 (4686 posts) -

Eh, health groups do all sorts of things to be able to be seen as good to normal people.
 
The Wii is just the perfect excuse to get a good name associated with them.

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