Monday, October 26

Wii Fit Plus (is not) Endorsed by NHS Government Health Department

Change4Life Campaign Accepts Nintendo (Gamercize is already in)

To be honest the headline you see here reveals an untruth that is circulating. The UK Department of Health does not endorse Wii Fit Plus, Nintendo or any other singular product or service. How do I know this, because Gamercize is a partner of the Change4Life campaign and the relationship is quite clear. We support Change4Life, not the other way around!

Kids cereal, soft drinks and chocolate producers are also partners with Change4Life - does this mean we should expect headlines like "NHS endorses soda and candy diet"? I think not.

Taking the positive from this marketing ploy (bear in mind Wii fit Plus is available this week in the UK, which is strikingly convenient for the timing of the news stories), there are good points here.

Even before the Change4Life campaign was started I was involved with the Foresight Report, which defined the need and composition for the campaign. The report sought to reduce screen time playing video games, and I campaigned to get the position changed to be reducing sedentary screen time and increasing active screen time.

Since then I have communication and conversations with the Chief Medical Officer, Head of Physical Activity and Minister of State for Public Health and the Change4Life team! I have even participated in the condemnation of the British Heart Foundations Change4Life advert that portrays all video games as "bad for you". This condemnation resulted in the next TV advert being aired showing a dance mat connected to a TV as an active video game!

The best news out of the inaccurate stories is the recognition that active computer games can now count towards the "60 active minutes" of moderate to vigorous physical activity that is a core Change4Life message. Previously the view of our Chief Medical Officer and just recently the Change4Life team was that active video games did not count as enough exercise. Gamercize certainly does, so I'm pleased to see this.

The last piece of good news (I hope it turns out to be anyway) is the UK Nintendo chief using the term "exer-gaming". Now one would hope that this could indicate Nintendo want to join the party for the common good. It has been suggested to me that it could also mean Nintendo are concerned about Natal and PlayStation getting physical and has decided to "own" exergaming for itself. Time will tell. Maybe we'll see Nintendo at Games for Health or joining the Interactive Fitness and Exergame Network?


gamercize @ said...

If you can find evidence of endorsement, accreditation or approval process in the original press release, I'll eat my Wii-Mote and post the video on YouTube.

Michelle said...

I write the blog posts for ExergamesUnlocked and i would like to thank you for pointing out my error in not reading the story correctly - I will report correctly.

gamercize @ said...

Until the Department of Health confirms my view, I wouldn't worry about correcting the story! Over 100 news articles have been written with the misconception and the likes of the BBC has also reported as you have.

I have not commented on all 100 articles, but I thought it was worth putting my point across on Exergames Unlocked because of the high standing within the Serious Gaming community. I feel the experts in the field should consider my comment in the light of the original article.

Great work on the Exergames Unlocked blog posts Michelle, keep the information coming!