Monday, April 11, 2011

Girl's BMI doubles!

4-11-11: A sobering story about our efforts with pediatric obesity in our county (San Bernardino county) and CA in general. Read about that latest pediatric obesity rates in today's story that came out in the San Bernardino Sun here.

What can be done? Notice how video games" are mentionedd several times as the culprit...unfortunately, it still is in vogue to pick on the "bad video games" and not other forms of sedentary-inducing activities like TV watching, computer usage, even reading (heaven-forbid we pick on that! ;-). Exergaming (i.e. active gaming), of course, can get all these video-gaming couch potatoes active again, especially since many of these kids are not into the traditional forms of physical activity.

Video games aren't going away, so instead of blaming them, we can use them to INCREASE physical activity in the very population of kids who love video games the most! This is a win-win for everyone.

Even better, imagine a system, similar to USA Swimming where my daughter, Summer, was on the Redlands Swim Team for 6 years. She trained with the coaches 5x/wk, from 1-2 hrs a day. When she was older, they added "dry land" exercises to augment their in-pool training. She would work on her technique and times, and then once a month, enter swim meets all around the IE. Over the years, she collected hundreds of ribbons and medals which she had hanging on the walls in her bedroom.

Soon, we will have a similar non-profit org called the National Active Gaming League (NAGL) where we will have teams of kids who will train on various exergames (active video games) to learn strategy and technique, and also train with more traditional forms of exercise to improve their game scores. We will go to local, regional, and county meets, and eventually, national meets (the National Spelling Bee final is on ESPN--why not the NAGL Final?). This will give kids a structured format to train and get exercise, have fun with other kids, and train for a goal of doing their best in tournaments.

We are looking to launch a pilot of the NAGL this summer, so if any parents are interested in getting their video-gaming kids involved with the NAGL, feel free to contact us at

By using the "enemy", we can get these rising BMI stats turned around!!!

PS. In this article, UCLA's Center for Health Research put the blame on, "They blame the increase on youths' sedentary lifestyle, which is often instigated by prevalence of video games and lack of opportunity or motivation to play outside."

The good news is that new mobile games and apps are being developed that address this! Companies such as Perpetual Motion Partners (PMP) are developing mobile app games that get players walking outside, motivating them with a fun scavenger hunt to play! One example is Mobile Adventure Walks! For more info, a promo video, and updates when the app is available, go to

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