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Wii Fit Has Little Impact on Family Health, Study Finds

OXFORD, MS -- The Nintendo Wii Fit has little impact on family fitness, per a recently released study by the University of Mississippi (UM).

Although children in the study displayed significant increases in aerobic fitness after three months of using the Wii Fit, the same amount of use didn’t produce significant changes for families as a whole in daily physical activity, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance or body composition.

Researchers also found that daily Wii Fit use per household declined by 82 percent during the first six weeks of the study, dropping from 22 minutes per day to four minutes per day during the second six weeks.

The Wii Fit had little impact on daily fitness and “modest amounts of daily Wii Fit use may have provided insufficient stimulus for fitness changes,” wrote Scott Owens, study author and UM associate professor of health and exercise science.

The eight families who participated in the six-month study were loaned a Wii Fit to use for three months. Their physical activity levels were charted during those three months, as well as for three months when they weren’t using a Wii Fit. The families’ fitness levels also were measured before the study to chart their daily movement and physical activity.

During the study, each family was evaluated on aerobic fitness, balance and body composition. Software on the Wii Fit consoles tracked how much each family member used the games and how much movement was involved.

The Wii consoles for the study were purchased by the UM School of Applied Sciences.

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