From Wii Fit to Physically Fit: The AHA and Nintendo Team Up for a Cause

By  January 07, 2011

A new survey from the American Heart Association shows that playing active-play video games can lead players to participate in more real-world physical activity. According to the survey, 58 percent of people who play active-play video games have begun a new real-life fitness activity like walking, tennis or jogging since they started playing the games. Additionally, 68 percent of people who play active-play video games say they are more physically active since they got involved in video games.

Inspired by these results, Nintendo and the American Heart Association are combining fun and fitness this season with “12 Days of Getting Active.” A series of daily tips starting today will help make it easy for people to get active, even when they are challenged with busy schedules and sweet temptations. The tips will be posted at http://www.activeplaynow.com, the joint American Heart Association-Nintendo online information center, and will focus on how active-play video games can get everyone in the family engaged in fun, physically active behavior leading into and through the New Year.

“We are looking at active-play video games as part of a realistic approach to fitness,” said Barry A. Franklin, Ph.D., Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan and an American Heart Association volunteer. “We are finding that they often act as a gateway to other forms of physical activity. So as people get up off the couch to play Wii games, they’re likely to stay up and do more – like walking, jogging or playing tennis.”

The survey also showed that 82 percent of those who engage in active-play video games now play more with family and friends, suggesting that these types of video games inspire social fun. The holidays are a great time to keep this trend going.

The American Heart Association and Nintendo of America are engaged in a first-of-its-kind, multifaceted strategic relationship aimed at helping people create healthy lifestyles through physically active play. The two organizations are working together on multiple fronts to help consumers discover how active-play video games contribute to healthy living. The iconic American Heart Association brand appears on boxes for the Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort software and for the Wii system itself.

The survey was conducted Oct. 25- Nov. 1, 2010, by the American Heart Association and included a total of 2,284 male and female respondents ages 25-55.