Navy May Use Wii Fit with New Recruits

WASHINGTON, DC -- To help get new sedentary recruits in shape, the Navy may add exercise-based video games to its boot camp physical training program.

Using video games such as Wii Fit in combination with traditional physical training could help new recruits build endurance, Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam Robinson told the Navy Times. He noted that many young Americans now prefer playing video games to engaging in sports or physical activities, and that the Navy could leverage this preference to engage new recruits.

“I have no doubt that today’s youth and the people that we’re talking about are capable of becoming physically fit,” Robinson said. “But I think that there has been a definite difference in the amount of time that people have devoted to physical activity, and I think that is a manifestation of physical education in the school systems in America.”

More than 9 million young adults aged 17 to 24 are too overweight to join the military, according to a recently released Mission: Readiness report titled “Too Fat to Fight.” Mission: Readiness is a group comprised of retired military leaders.

Robinson said that young women in particular are experiencing more bone injuries during boot camp because they aren’t used to the high levels of physical exertion it requires.

“There have been more fractures and femur fractures and long-bone fractures in some of our young female recruits, and that’s related to the amount of activity and a sedentary lifestyle that they’ve had before they’ve entered the service and then the uptick in physical activity after they’re in the service,” he said.

The Navy is slated to roll out its new Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series (NOFFS) this month, which was designed to prevent injuries among sailors and improve their physical durability.

The idea of incorporating video games into Navy boot camp is still in the early stages, Robinson said, and a timeline for adding them has not yet been established.

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