Gymrat\’s Weblog

News from the world of muscle

Video games aim to encourage childrens healthy eating

The blog Slashfood, part of the Weblogs, Inc. Network, writes about a couple of new video games that comes with educational messages:

“The games are called Nanoswarm: Invasion from Inner Space and Escape from Diab. Each is an immersive role-playing game that is supposed to help kids learn about how to make the food choices that will keep them healthy, modifying any unhealthy eating behaviors.”

There is a trailer of Nanoswarm online at the developers website:

Video games aim to encourage childrens healthy eating. Nanoswarm: Invasion from Inner Space

The above video games is a step in the healthy direction to counteract the abundace of messages in the opposite direction. Center for Media and Democracy’s blog tells us of advergaming:

“The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a study titled “It’s Child’s Play: Advergaming and the Online Marketing of Food to Children,” which found that more than eight out of ten (85%) of the top food brands that target children through TV advertising also use branded websites to market to children online. Examples of advergaming are Cheetos Cowtapult, Ritz Bits Soccer Shoot Out, and several games choices featuring Pop-Tarts.”

In related news, Health Club Management tells of a Welsh gym that have attatched Playstations to cardio equipment to attract kids:

“Paul Morgan, a gym co-ordinator at the council-run leisure centre, said: “We were looking at ways we could entice more young people to take up exercise because of the rise in childhood obesity. A lot of children go home from school and start playing on their games consoles and don’t do any exercise. We thought that if they could do that at our facility, maybe they would come.”

A Welsh gym that have attatched Playstations to cardio equipment to attract kids.

As with almost everything else, fitness trends starts first in the United States, then spread around the world. One example is the gyms that are designed for kids. writes that ‘Kids sweat it out in new mini-gyms‘:

“With child-sized treadmills, exercise bikes and resistance weight machines, mirrors on the wall and pop music pumping out, this gym in Potters Bar looks and feels just like its larger adult version. At least 80 such gyms have opened in Britain in recent years, and one of the leading kid gym companies, Shokk, says it alone is opening new ones at a rate of around three a month.”

But not all greet the specialized new trend with open arms. Some are voicing the concern that the equipment misses the point, as this article in The Australian tells us:

“I’m concerned that parents would buy this equipment with the expectation of fixing the problem,” said Susan Sawyer, director of the Centre for Adolescent Health at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

“For one thing, it is blaming the child for the problem rather than looking at the broader issues, like what sort of food is being served at home and the family’s pattern of physical activity.”

The article continues:

“Greg Stead, head of not-for-profit safety group Kidsafe, said: “Children should be encouraged to have active play at the park rather than indoors on equipment. I do have concerns about the appropriateness of these products.”

Isn’t it simple? If kids enjoy training at the gym with machines/free weights (under supervision) they will continue to do so. Let them! If not, find the sport or activity they enjoy – then they will continue doing it, by themselves. Moore choices for exercise = better.

When I was young and overweight my family tried to find ways to activate me; nordic skiing, football (read soccer), wrestling – even ballet! I had to be dragged too and trough those different activities. Team sports had nothing to offer me. Then in my early teens I started exercising regularly. How? I found the gym. I was hooked. This was to bee ‘my thing’. I could feel it. Thanks heavens for dumbbells and barbells!

Dr. Mel Siff, sadly departed, had this to say on the Supertraining discussion list:

“I have also pointed out that many daily and sporting activities involving running, jumping, hitting and kicking impose far greater loads on the growing bones of children than even squats or jerks with double bodymass.

Thus, if one militates against weightlifting for juveniles, then all sports involving those types of activity (including football, basketball, track & field, soccer and baseball) should also be banned from schools.

Some people seem to have forgotten that the body of the human adapts at any age to sensibly imposed stresses and strains. Damage is the consequence of bad training, not because weight training is intrinsically “bad” for the body.”


August 1, 2006 - Posted by | Exercise, Health

1 Comment »

  1. looks like it could be very beneficial, the problem is getting kids to play a game like this.

    Comment by Dave | August 2, 2006 | Reply

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