Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Computer fitness gets approval

Hands holding Nintendo Wii controllers
Active video games that make players move and jump about may help combat obesity

The Nintendo Wii Fit Plus is the first computer game to win approval from the Department of Health.

It will now carry logos from the Change4Life campaign, which aims to get people interested in exercise and healthy eating.

A health department spokesman said active video games were a 'great way' to get kids moving.

The video game industry has frequently been attacked by the government for encouraging a sedentary lifestyle.

Wii Fit Plus is an updated version of the Wii Fit game.

It includes the traditional activities like yoga, aerobic exercises and hula-hooping, but adds the ability to target specific areas of the body.

'Active games'

The Change4Life brand will be used by Nintendo online, in TV advertising and in stores.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Active video games, where kids need to jump up and down or dance about as part of the game, are a great way to get kids moving more.

The biggest barriers to increased activity are lack of time, cost, and embarrassment so being able to exercise at home can, for some people, help them overcome this
Dr Ian Campbell, Weight Concern

"Little bits of activity like this throughout the day can easily add up to the 60 active minutes kids need."

Nintendo is not the first company that the Department of Health has agreed links with.

Both Cadbury and Pepsi committed funds to promote the Change4Life campaign.

It was in March that the gaming industry trade magazine complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about a government advert suggesting that children who play computer games may die early.

The advert from the Change4Life campaign showed a boy playing a game, with the slogan 'Risk an early death, just do nothing'.

Dr Ian Campbell, of the charity Weight Concern, said: "We have to be realistic, people will continue to use games consoles but by teaming up the Wii with Change4Life the message is clear, that a healthy lifestyle involves increased activity as well as dietary control.

"We know that games consoles which encourage activity can help children, and adults, to be more active.

"The biggest barriers to increased activity are lack of time, cost, and embarrassment so being able to exercise at home can, for some people, help them overcome this.

"At long last we're getting smart in the ways we deal with the obesity epidemic."



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