President’s Council on Fitness backs Wii, Kinect and other video games.

By Lenny Bernstein,
Published: May 15

I couldn’t ignore the irony in the April 30 announcement that the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition had decided to team up with the Entertainment Software Association to demonstrate “how to use video games to promote physical activity.”

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There are so many active video games on the market now that the term “exergaming” entered the lexicon a few years ago. Today, you can find Wii bowling in assisted-living facilities and Dance Dance Revolution in West Virginia schools. The American Heart Association has already teamed with Nintendo. The managed-care giant UnitedHealth Group announced last week that it believes “the intersection of health and video gaming holds enormous potential benefit for individuals, families and the entire health care system.”

So perhaps it was inevitable that the venerable government organization and the trade group that has its hands on the controls of today’s youth entertainment would get together. Under the plan, kids can earn their Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) certificate by using active games to help them get 60 minutes of exercise, five days a week for six weeks. Adults must move for 30 minutes a day. There is also a nutrition component to the challenge (hence the “plus” in PALA+).

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