Wii Crap

Winston Salem Fitness has a posting on their blog about Wii Fit. . Overall, it's actually a very good review and criticism of Wii Fit from a fitness angle.

One thing that they touch on is an excellent explanation of why Wii Fit's use of BMI to tell you how healthy you are is just plain wrong:

It then moves on to perform the Body Test, which is more balance assessment, followed by the calculation of Body Mass Index (or BMI). BMI is a very flawed measure of one’s fitness, as it measures the ratio of one’s scale weight to one’s height. So, on the BMI scale, the following people are considered Overweight or Obese:

Alex Rodriguez of the new York Yankees – Tom Brady of the new England Patriots – Lance Armstrong of cycling fame – Arnold Schwarzenegger – Sylvester Stallone

See where I’m going with this? Scale weight does not account for the amount of lean body mass someone is carrying. That is why body fat percentage is the gold standard for measuring one’s fitness.

Also, measuring BMI on anyone under 19 is very inaccurate. This already has become an issue for Nintendo, as a 10-year old athletic British girl was assessed as being Fat by the game. Obesity experts jumped on Nintendo immediately, rightfully stating that the game could cause irreparable harm to a child’s body image. Nintendo has since added a disclaimer that the BMI feature is meant for adults only, but hasn’t taken the step of deactivating it in the game for child users.

I wholeheartedly agree with this criticism. You can add me to the above list. I'm 5'9" and weigh 190 lbs. Therefore, using BMI, I'm obese. Yet, I run and lift weights 3x a week. Calling a 39 year old who can bench press 300 lbs obese is just plain wrong.

But then the posting goes on to state that:

Overall, I give Nintendo credit for trying to make a game that tries to get people to be more active, which is more than can be said for other video game manufacturers. However, this will not do anything in terms of chipping away at the American obesity problem. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the video game industry needs to follow the route of the tobacco and alcohol manufacturers, and state that excessive use of their product could lead to inactivity and obesity, rather than try to make a half-hearted effort at increasing American activity levels.

Which is, quite frankly, a load of crap. One of the worst loads of crap I've ever seen, and we have a puppy so I've seen a lot of crap.

If we follow this logic, then everything should have an obesity warning. The chair I'm sitting on is contributing to my obesity. I could be burning calories by standing. Our cars should have obesity warnings because if we walked everywhere we would weigh less. In fact, this blog and the computer in general should have obesity warnings because I'm sitting here reading them and not working out.

It's sort of sad that an informative Wii Fit review would be marred by such an uninformed opinion at the end. But that's the story, morning glory. Can a game reviewer comment on the fitness aspects any better than a fitness reviewer could comment on the gaming aspects?

Really, the answer lies in how parents raise their children. I've been saying this for over 10 years. Blaming the game for your child's behavior is a horrid cop out. A parent needs to explain the value of exercise to the child. A parent needs to be able to pay attention to the child and, surprise, raise the child with care.

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