Obesity isn't just a serious problem for the 66% of American adults who are overweight or obese, 32% of American children ages 6 to 19 are already overweight or obese. Are these kids at risk for developing the diseases that overweight and obese adults are at high risk for, like diabetes and heart disease?
Well, they are. If current obesity rates level off, 30% of boys and 40% of girls born in 2000 risk developing diabetes at some point in their lives. Of course, diet and exercise are keys to losing weight in all age groups. What do you say to kids getting their exercise by playing video games?
The makers of a video game called Dance Dance Revolution claim their game is different. The joystick is a floor mat with arrows. Arrows scroll up the monitor to the beat of a tune the player selects. The game is to step on the arrow that corresponds to the one moving up the screen. Keeping up can be challenging and exhausting.
The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency hopes kids will play enjoy the game. They've purchased the game for various West Virginia elementary schools, and some Phys. Ed. teachers claim that kids unenthusiastic about other physical activities are enthusiastic about playing the video game. In hopes of lowering the millions they pay out every year on obesity claims, the agency is now buying families the game equipment and monitoring kids to determine whether they dance off weight.