Sunday, July 13

Forced Gaming for Health Officials

Gamercize at the Health of the Nation Conference.

Last week we went to the premier government and health association conference, Heath of the Nation '08. The list of attendees was just as impressive as the speakers who included;

Tam Fry (AM Chair) - Honorary Chairman, Child Growth Foundation
Dr David Haslam (PM Chair) - Clinical Director, National Obesity Forum
Sir Liam Donaldson - Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
Dr Will Cavendish - Director of Health and Wellbeing, Department of Health
Dr Susan Jebb - Head of Nutrition and Health Research, Medical Research Council
Sam Mellor - Head of Healthy Schools Programme, Department of Health/Department for Children, Schools & Families

The conference speakers had a great deal of information, but there were a few light hearted moments; The Foresight Policy Systems Roadmap was a laughable schematic trying to assign responsibility in the government's obesity strategy - it was a complete mess of a spider's web that I could have replaced with a single slide - EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE.

The second amusing moment was when one sharp witted delegate pointed out the irony of a health conference sponsored by a chocolate company. Well, these companies have the money and a degree of responsibility. You often see health initiatives sponsored by fast food giants, it's better than no initiative at all.

We were there both as delegates and exhibitors and this is the feedback we got while forcing government health officials onto Gamercize equipment to play Forza 2 or FIFA '08.

1. PCT and PDM representatives and were very pleased that Gamercize does not enforce a specific level of physical activity and that health professionals would have control over the exertion themselves. They also saw Gamercize as the solution for the most sedentary children to socially participate equally with more sporty kids.

2. Local authority school representatives shared a very useful fact with me. Children in some areas, particularly girls, do not engage in organized physical activity because they are not comfortable with the kit they have to wear. They saw Gamercize as a less strict activity for track suits instead of shorts - which has proved excellent in increasing children's engagement levels.

3. NHS, DCMS and NHS representatives all focused on the ability to play any game with Gamercize, not just racing games and not just games designed to be used with exercise. They saw this a protection against Gamercize being a "fad" and appreciated the value of the equipment in this respect.

4. Almost all representatives very much liked the the lower cost PS2 Gamercize, with the attraction of the cheaper games (£5-10) but youth leaders far preferred the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Gamercize because of the extra appeal to adolescents.

5. From the few SSP Competition Managers that attended, we have some more schools signed up for the next international exergaming tournament, to be held in October!!

It was a great event for us, we got to speak to a huge number of people that really can make a difference to the nation's health and the exchange of ideas was incredible. Needless to say, everyone loved the Gamercize concept and it wasn't long before we had the huge crowds I've come to expect when kids and parents discover Gamercize.

1 comment:

gamercize @ said...

There actually was one person out of the hundreds attending who turned his nose up at Gamercize as he walked past. I clocked his badge and he was in a very senior post within child health.

Wake up fella, kids are interested in video games like you wouldn't believe - you can't be in a position representing children and stick your head in the sand when it comes to Generation Xbox and the PlayStation Generation!

Actually, that's a very good point - you shouldn't be in your position and be so out of touch with kids. I wonder what my MP's view is of that? :)