Video Game :: A video game that improves your health

West Virginia University and the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency have announced the results of their ground breaking West Virginia Games for Health research project.

With clinical oversight provided by WVU, this home based project involving primarily children of PEIA policy holders, has shown that consistent use of Konami?s video game, Dance Dance Revolution? (DDR), improved the health, attitudes and behaviors of participating children.

Early reports regarding this innovative use of DDR received the attention and ultimate support of the game?s manufacturer, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KNM), which joined the West Virginia partnership in an effort to place DDR in all public schools in the state.

The 24-week at-home clinical study required participants to play the game five days per week for at least 30 minutes and to record their activity while WVU monitored several health indicators over the course of the study including: weight, blood pressure, body mass index, arterial function, fitness levels and attitudes towards exercise.

The study was born out of a need to address the alarming epidemic of childhood obesity. Nidia Henderson, PEIA?s Health Promotions Director, remarked, ?Unfortunately, West Virginia?s children do not currently have sufficient opportunities for healthful eating and regular physical activity. Dance Dance Revolution provides an appealing solution to part of the problem as a high tech, easily accessible game that can be played virtually anywhere.?

The PEIA sponsored research was conducted by Dr. Linda Carson, WVU?s Ware Distinguished Professor of the School of Physical Education and Emily Murphy, pediatric exercise physiologist with WVU School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. They found that the subjects, all above the 85th percentile for body mass index according to gender and age, improved their general health and reduced their risks for lifestyle related diseases.

?One of earliest indicators of cardiovascular risk is decreased arterial function. The walls of the arteries are lined with endothelial cells which are important in allowing our blood vessels to expand properly in response to an increase in blood flow, such as during exercise,? stated Murphy. ?This Institutional Review Board approved study has now provided evidence that consistent playing of DDR improves arterial function in overweight children.?

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