Friday, August 14

The Missing 9th Protocol

Making Change4Life really N.E.A.T.

There are 8 core messages in the Change4Life campaign, and sometimes they are described poorly, in targeting video gaming over the real bad screen time of TV watching where snacking is the sting in the tail.

The core messages are good, however, and they are (in the order chosen by the Change4Life campaign:

  1. Sugar Swaps - Basic advice to go for the low calorie option
  2. 5 a Day - Sensible stuff, a balanced diet including 5 fruit or veg a day.
  3. Meal Time - Hardest to implement, make a regular time for healthy meals.
  4. Snack Check - 2 Snax Max, and try to turn one junk snack into a healthy one.
  5. Me Sized Meals - This is a good one, make sure meal sizes are appropriate for kids.
  6. Cut Back Fat - Simple advice like grill don't fry, all sound basic advice.
  7. 60 Active Minutes - Moderate to vigorous physical activity! Get some exercise!
  8. Up and About - Limit screen time to 2 hours per day (What about active gaming!!!!!?)

They look pretty sensible on the whole, but there's one missing... and it's a big one. While there is one message promoting explicit exercise there is no message to choose to be more active, no matter how much energy you expend. What we are missing is:

  1. Just Keep Moving
This is so easy and so less daunting than 60 Active Minutes, and it follows the concepts of "Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis". That basically means just keep moving, but it's an important concept that's easier to build into modern life than going to play in the park 365 days a year every evening.

An easy example of N.E.A.T. is to leave you TV remote by the TV instead of on the sofa. If you change channel, get up, move! If you're channel hopping, stay stood up. There's lots of ways you can be NEAT with your life, just think about all the time you are stationary for hours on end. In the office, get up, go speak will a colleague in the same room instead of sending an email!

Change4Life needs to be promoting this message - for most people in modern lives going for an hour of exercise a day is just not sustainable, but a low level of effort most of the time does make a difference and leads to more energy and ability to tackle the hard hour-a-day workout.

Here's a little more on NEAT if you're stuck for ideas:

Thursday, August 13

Looking After Our Town Centres Scheme

Free video games for all!

In bleak times there are sometimes rays of hope, and today the British Government will announce a scheme that is just that.

During hard times traditional focal points for shopping, the town centre, have casualties and some shops close. Boarded up shop fronts give a bad impression of an area and add to the doom and gloom of the current situation.

The government scheme is set to provide funding up to £50,000 for temporary regeneration, including using empty shops as art galleries and mother and baby centres. Could more be done? Well, yes... what about the current health crisis where being physical active is just too boring, time consuming and expensive?

There's an opportunity here to address both issues in one hit. Use the funding to create Gamercize game gyms. Why Gamercize? Pound for pound on capital expenditure it's the most sustainable form of video game exercise, allowing any game title to be used for fitness. What's more it's far the least expensive option and it is the only option that allows parents and children to play together.

Do you want to have access to the latest games and consoles without the expense? Do you know you need to get more exercise but can't find the time or anything interesting to do? If the answer is yes, then tell someone, in this case, your MP. Here's what you do:

1. Find your MP by entering your postcode on or

2. Send them this message

RE: Looking after our town centres scheme

I welcome the guidance and necessary funding put forwards by Government to re-use empty space in town centres for community benefit.

A recession at the same time as a health crisis gives city leaders and fund holders an opportunity to address both issues with one action.

I propose using empty shop spaces for Gamercize game gyms. This will:

· Increase physical activity levels in hard to reach audiences
· Provide a focal point for beneficial youth community
· Revitalise commerce in the local shops due to increase traffic
· Provide employment for local people in gym supervision
· Show England as technical, health and social innovators

Gamercize will part-subsidise every game gym opened and provide ongoing support and promotion for sustainability.

Gamercize is the only game fitness option proven to engage all of the people all of the time and outlives “fitness fads” associated with video game exercise.

Gamercize is a partner of the national Change4Life campaign and I urge you to consider a Gamercize game gym for our town centre.

Let's get some free fitness gaming going in your area, we'll help but it's time for our elected representatives to act!

Saturday, August 1

Government Admits Health Policy Flawed

Millions in taxpayers money is knowingly wasted.

A report in the Daily Mail from Sarah Harris shows that nearly two thirds of teenagers do no physical activity at all. Government, responsible for spending over 250 million in "get out of the house" health promotion, admits that bad weather and kids skipping sport are more realistic driving factors.

Schools Minister Ian Wright has admitted that the findings, reported from a year long survey of 12,000 children, were news to the Schools Department. The government position has been criticised by the leading Child Health Expert, Tam Fry who described the government as being in "cloud cuckoo land". Opposition schools spokesman David Laws described the government's excuses for failure as "desperate and unconvincing".

Even before the report was commissioned, the government has been made aware of the problem of making sport fun and engaging, and has unheeded this advice and failed to act to even investigate the possibilities. What they have been told is that interactive technologies, such as video games and the web are far more engaging to today's youth; and these technologies should be used to deliver physical activity.

Video games engage teenagers because they are fun, it's social and it's their choice. Gamercize delivers physical activity (that surpasses exertion levels of school sport) using video games, not just the odd title, but all games. That's why Gamercize is best placed for teenagers to get some exercise - it's fun, it's social and it's their choice.

What's the next step for the nation's health? Perhaps the best people to decide the strategy would be those that are in touch with teenagers themselves? Our money is being used to promote a fundamentally flawed approach that is not working, has never worked and will never deliver - I think it is time for the whole government strategy to be audited, reviewed and held to account.