Wednesday, November 28

The Cause of Obesity

It should come as no shock that there is an obesity crisis. We hear it in the news every now and again, but what's the problem. A few more fat people? It's actually quite a serious issue.

For an individual take a look at this graphic

(source :

For the population that's not overweight of obese (congratulations!) there is still a serious issue
(source :

What this means is fit or fat, you're affected by obesity, either in your health or your wealth.

This is an outcry I hear you say. I'd agree. There is no mistake that I have cited UK and USA sources above, obesity is a global epidemic - a pandemic. So what are our individual countries doing to fix this for us?

The the UK we have the Change4Life campaign. Eat less, move more! Great. In the USA we have Healthy People and latterly supplemented with Let's Move! In Canada there's of course Active Healthy Kids Canada. Everything's ok now we have these great quasi-government organisations fighting for our health?

Not quite. All of these organisations have a common flaw. They do not adapt, they do not learn, they do not get disbanded if they are ineffective.

First on the block for the chop is Healthy Active Kids Canada.
"Since the formation of the Active Healthy Kids Canada in 1994, according to "Obesity in Canada - Snapshot" published by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the levels of obesity have grown from just over 20% to nearly 25%."
Next up Healthy People 2010
 "Since the inception of Healthy People 2010 in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the states in America that have an obesity prevalence of 30% grew from zero states in 2000 to 12 states in 2010".
What about Change4Life?
"Since the creation of the Change4Life campaign in 2009, according to the National Health Service commissioned statistics via ONS, the percentage of overweight or obese children had grown from 17% reported in 2009 to 30%"

Why if the obesity problem is recognized and agencies have been set up to combat the problem is it still getting worse? Costing us our health and our wealth? The answer is a lack of knowledge about the population they are trying to help. Technology is becoming increasingly more important in work and leisure for the modern western individual and these agencies are still touting the "go play outside" message for increasing physical activity. All of them have dismissed exergaming as part of the solution.

Exergaming is dismissed because a few studies in Nintendo Wii have failed to produce the illusive 60 minutes of MVPA (Moderate to Vigourous Physical Activity, basically, being out of puff) that most governments recommend. Equally, most people get bored of Wii Sports and go play Mario Kart instead. The lack in understanding of exergaming, and the natural aversion to technology, causes the obesity agencies to make a fatal (that'l be fatal you you, not them) mistake and provide incorrect guidance. So what if exergaming ticked the boxes for sustainability, for MVPA?

Contrary to stereotypical or ignorant belief, exergames can. At least, Gamercize can. If you only ever read one piece of research this decade, make it this one. Exergaming MVPA, sustainability and of course comparison against the dreaded Wii.

(source :

So what causes obesity? Ignorance. Or to be blunt - the ignorance of the agencies set up to combat the situation. We know exergaming works, see above, but the agencies deny this. I would rather suggest honest stupidity over a desire to worsen the crisis in order to justify the expansion the respective agencies budgets. Well, maybe I might just hint at that.

Saturday, November 24

Overcoming Challenges in Exergaming

My involvement with exergaming goes beyond that of my role as CEO of Gamercize. I am also involved with The Exergame Network. This network is populated with like minded industry leaders, researchers and supporters of exergaming.

I am involved with this network because I believe that the genre of exergaming needs to be heard, not from the basis of commercial intent or academic politics, but from the people who want to freely share knowledge and help others. I think that when exergaming is represented only without ulterior motives can the true story be heard and the best advocacy presented.

This week I put that commitment on the line, backing up words with actions. I'm not unique here, active members of The Exergame Network share this passion and characteristic, putting others before themselves to be true to the objectives of exergaming: helping others!

Here's a write-up of my efforts, with a few pictures and a video that prove no matter what the challenge, it is best overcome as a group! Special shout out for the benefactors of this effort, who can be found on twitter as         , and Gamercize for paying for the training and jump.

Follow TEN on twitter here:
Join on Facebook here:
Read the blog here:

@ActiveGamer (Richard Coshott) 


A couple of days before Thanksgiving Richard Coshott took a “leap of faith” out of an airplane to raise money for an organization that he is very passionate about, The Exergaming Network (TEN).
Coshott raised nearly $400 using and that money will go towards paying for research that needs to be done. One of the biggest challenges in growing TEN is trying to convince organizations, schools, educators and anyone involved with making decisions on how exergaming isn’t just video games. 
Exergaming is very beneficial to students and it is great way to keep students active. Coshott was nervous about the jump, but knows that it help raise awareness for TEN’s goals.
“When you have a door open to an airplane at 3,000 feet it goes against every natural instinct to jump out,” Coshott said. ”We have raised the profile of the initiative, and the knock on effect is we have some great partnership relationships in construction.”
He is excited about creating more fundraisers with in the future and loved working with the team on creating a successful fundraiser.
“The great part about using Fundraise is that we can add to our activities, so we’re expecting to add more fundraisers,” Coshott added. 
There is a lot of research to be done in the coming months, and some of the topics that need to be tackled include: Positive Behaviour Effects, Gateway Effect, Comparative Enjoyment of Physical Activity, Health Benefits of Exergaming, Family health benefits of Exergaming, Cognitive benefits of exergaming and Improved social confidence from Exergaming.
Coshott is hoping that exergaming will continue accross the globe in the United States. One of the biggest challenges in the US is that with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, money has been diverted away from physical education and the arts and towards teaching to the test to try to meet the requirements of of NCLB.
But Coshott sees exergaming as a great way to keep kids in shape and educate them at the same time. Some studies show that students who regularly exercise perform better academically.
“Exergaming is brilliant to give all kids a chance to be active and successful in physical activity,” Coshott added. “One goal of TEN is to educate these schools so that they can implement a successful and rewarding experience for the school and the students. The good news is that exergaming can help; so long as we know how to use it and we have the proof that it does say what we say it does.
And that leads back to the reason why TEN needs financial support. 
Hence the reason TEN is doing all the work to get the gaps filled in exergaming research and hence the reason I jumped out of a plane last weekend,” Coshott exclaimed.
Here is video of Coshott taking his “literal leap of faith” to help support TEN: 

To read the previous entry on this fundraiser, visit:, to read more more about the Fundraiser, visit:

Tuesday, November 20

The Exergaming Files (Episode 2)

Once again, just for fun, but with a serious note on sustainability. It's a key concept for Gamercize and an all to often seen flaw for exergaming, so do take a listen. If the player isn't visible below - watch on YouTube here:

Monday, November 5

The Exergaming Files (Episode 1)

Proof that we don't take life too seriously at Gamercize (if any were needed)

Enjoy two industry leaders from opposite sides of the planet. Many thanks to CEO of Exergaming Australia, Brett W M Young, for the collaboration!

If there is no embedded play below; Listen on YouTube here: