Is using the Wii for exercise in school just an overblown gimmick?

Wii FitSchools using videogames in their curriculum is nothing new. Plenty of schools have used DDR as an alternative to PE on days with bad weather, and who doesn’t remember playing classics like Math Blaster and Oregon Trail back in elementary and middle school? What is new, though, is the sudden idea several schools have had to use the Wii as an alternative to PE.

Recent studies have shown that playing "active games" such as the Wii increases the liklihood of children participating in physical activities. Due to that, the Department of Health has begun plans to introduce the Wii in schools to help combat childhood obesity. According to the Campaign for Real Education, though, this is nothing more than a gimmick move. "It looks like another gimmick," said Nick Seaton, chairman for the Campaign for Real Education. "It’s pandering to the views of the physically idle. Pupils would be far better doing serious competitive sports and games than this sort of thing."

As of now, five schools in Worcestershire, PA have used "virtual PE" to try and coax kids into being more active. According to a spokesman for the Department of Health, this is only the first step. "We welcome the positive impact that innovations like these can have as a first step towards getting people to participate in a broader range of physical activities," he said, "and to enjoy the many benefits of a physically active lifestyle."

I suppose when you get right down to it, this obviously won’t make any kids suddenly put down the Doritos and Dr. Pepper and then go running a mile a day. But it certainly won’t hurt.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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