High-Tech Solutions Can Help Fight Obesity

Submitted By: Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

High-Tech Solutions Can Help Fight Obesity

After a holiday season filled with our favorite traditional goodies, we must now acknowledge that no matter how wholesome they might be many of them were full of sugar, fat, and other high calorie ingredients. It is also the time of year for New Year’s resolutions as we promise ourselves to eat better and get more physical activity, and for one of the largest electronics shows in the world -- the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Often we associate technology with sedentary living as we text, email, or watch a screen. Undoubtedly, technology has contributed to the current state of the Nation’s waistline, but it can also be a tool for good. Active gaming is one way technology can encourage and promote physical activity and meet youth and adults wherever they are on the ability spectrum.

Before attending CES I had an opportunity to see first-hand how active gaming can play a role in physical education at Kenny Guinn Middle School. The school is nestled within Clark County, NV the fifth largest school district in the Nation, which also receives PEP grant support through the US Department of Education.

Guinn Middle School’s physical education classes use active gaming as a way to help integrate special needs students with their peers during class. When the teacher asked who was excited to do some active gaming, everyone yelled “Me!”. As the students rotated through the stations, I had the opportunity to work out with them. Very soon I realized that I couldn’t tell who was ‘challenged’ or not. To me they were all excited kids being active jumping, kicking, and punching. No one was singled out or separated and each student participated to the best of their ability. And not only were they doing active gaming but they also learned about body mass index (BMI) by using bio impedance machines and ipods.

Among my New Year’s resolutions is to work active gaming into my daily physical activity routine. It’s a fun way to use technology to promote sustained movement regardless of your level of ability. After all, if my 88 year old grandmother can play a bowling videogame and love it, I know I can too.

And while you’re doing your active gaming, make sure you get credit by completing the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). Active gaming is one of the many physical activities that count towards your PALA. Plus, you’ll be able to start or continue your New Year’s Resolution of getting fit.