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Last Updated: Thursday April 02 2009 04:44 GMT

Free consoles to help weight loss

Adam playing on a Nintendo Wii

Can a Wii keep you fit? Adam finds out

Kids are always being told that playing video games means they're not getting enough exercise, but imagine experts telling you the opposite.

That's what's happening in Nottingham, where some families are getting games consoles to help them lose weight.

Adam logged in to find out more.


"Researchers in Nottingham are giving Nintendo Wiis to 20 families who have problems with their weight to see if the games consoles can improve their health.

The scientists at Nottingham Trent University found out that playing the boxing game a few times in a day used up as much energy as going for a brisk walk.

They carried out experiments by putting masks on children's faces - and mine! They measure the amount of air you breathe in and the amount of carbon dioxide gas you breathe out while you're playing the console.

Uses up energy

It felt quite weird, but after six minutes of hard gaming the computer showed I had used up more energy than if I had been playing a game sitting down and not moving.

You have to play really active games and put in a lot of effort to get any benefit, and they don't recommend that you give up real exercise.

Dr Chris Bussell from Nottingham Trent University told me: "You've got to swing your arms for the tennis shots, you've got to punch for the boxing. You have to use it properly rather than just flicking your wrists."

Now the Department of Health in Nottinghamshire is trying the next part of the experiment, where they will give Wiis to overweight families for 12 weeks to see if they do more exercise.

NOT free Wiis

Obesity could be caused by people playing computer games too much, and so the government reckon they should try to use them to help people be more active.

They say it's just an experiment and that they're definitely not handing out free Wiis."

Adam