Greetings! Thanks to Richard for the invitation to post in his blog. I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss how we're using exergaming to impact the lives of families at the XRtainment Zone (www.xrtainmentzone.com).
Wednesday, March 12
Coming from a healthcare background and having worked with obesity in the clinical setting for the last 14 years, we do not shy away from addressing the problem head-on.
The XRTZ is more of a family fitness and wellness center that uses exergaming as it's main attraction and interventional tool, rather than an elaborate video game place that hopes to get kids moving enough to get them to be fit on the sly. While we bank on this form of "stealth exercise", we are much more up front about our ulterior motives at the Zone! (Every member has the option of getting a full health and fitness assessment done, for example.) We have basically blended my medical group's health education with the
One of our key differences from most of the other exergaming gyms and businesses currently out there is our focus on the whole family, and not just the kids.
Anyone who works in the healthcare side of obesity, especially pediatric obesity,
knows that to really impact the weight and health of a child, you have to include the WHOLE family, especially the parents, since they are the main decision makers on what foods to buy, where to eat, what activities to do, etc. To a lesser extent, we also focus on the siblings because it makes it easier for the overweight sibling to do the healthy thing if the parents AND siblings are doing it as well.
Bottom line, you have to institute a whole family lifestyle change if you're going to see an improvement in the overweight child's health.
This is why we are one of the few, if only ones, who has an insurance contract where this particular insurance company will cover the cost of our 7-week Family Fit class and up to 4 months of post-class membership for continued follow-up at the Zone for kids who are at or above the 95th%-tile BMI.
Finally, exercise is only part of the solution for really making a difference in the health of kids. Nutrition is a vital component to their success, so we have incorporated a demonstration kitchen in our multipurpose room where we focus on nutrition education and interaction in just about all of our programs. This way, we can
impact both their physical and nutritional aspect of their lifestyles.
Pediatric obesity was said to be our "greatest national security threat" by the former US Surgeon General Richard Carmon (2006, ACSM Annual Meeting). We at the XRtainment Zone are doing our part in fighting this epidemic. We are working on having more Zones all over the country and the world, since this, unfortunately, is not just a US problem anymore. We encourage others to join us in this fight, and utilize this incredible technology of video games to help us help our future: our kids.
Erne Medina, Jr., DrPH, CHFI
CEO/Co-founder, XRtainment Zone LLC
CEE "Chief Exergaming Evangelist"