Nintendo Wii Fit or Not?

December 29, 2009 by  
Filed under featured, Fitness & Sport, Health


Did you get a Nintendo Wii Fit for Christmas with the intention that it will be an easy way to get fit? Well sadly, University of Mississippi study seems to show that it may be great entertainment, but has little effect on family fitness.

The study was conducted by Scott Owens who is an associate professor of health and exercise science. Obesity is a nationwide problem, both in the US and UK, so he was curious as to whether the Nintendo Wii Fit console could help families get more physical activity, increase the amount of exercise they did, and ultimately improve family fitness.

It must be admitted this is a very small study of only eight families over a six month period who were loaned a Nintendo Wii Fit to use for three months. The study was broken into two parts so that each family’s physical activity was charted during three months without a Nintendo Wii Fit and three months with it in the home.

Before the study each family’s fitness was measured by using an accelerator that charted their movement and physical activity over a period of five days. During the time they had the Wii Fit, each family was evaluated for aerobic fitness, balance and body composition. Software on the game consoles used individual profiles to track how much each family member used the games and how much movement was involved in that use.

What the study found was that children benefited, but not their parents. The children showed a significant increase in aerobic fitness after three months with the Wii Fit but after three months of home use produced the study found no significant changes in daily physical activity, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance or body composition for families as a whole.

A familiar scenario occurred which is seen in the annual sign up for the gym that takes place in the first week of January, in that daily Wii Fit use per household declined by 82 percent over the three month period. It went from 22 minutes a day during the first six weeks right down to only four minutes a day during the second six weeks.

It seems that the psychology is the same whether it’s the gym or the latest gadget – it’s great at first, but what needs working on is staying power and discipline – which if you had then you wouldn’t need an expensive gym membership or high priced electronic trainer!