Last week, UnitedHealthcare and Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., brought the DanceDance Revolution (DDR CE) Classroom Edition “exergame” to the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada, where local youths use the popular dance game to have fun and improve their fitness.
The event was part of a collaboration with KONAMI and the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada to help reduce childhood obesity through exergaming, which refers to video games that are also a form of exercise. This is the first DDR CE unit available to children in Nevada.
“Finding new ways to improve the health and well-being of young people in Las Vegas is crucial for the future of our community,” said Pat Skorkowsky, superintendent for Clark County. “By making exercise both fun and accessible, this program will help our city’s youths get more active and improve their fitness.”
This program builds on UnitedHealthcare’s expertise in developing practical solutions to help tackle childhood obesity. UnitedHealthcare and KONAMI have been working together to bring exergaming to youths across the nation by offering DDR CE units nationwide.
More than a third of Nevada children, and children nationwide, are either overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among all Nevada residents, the state ranks 17th for physical inactivity and 18th for obesity, according to UnitedHealth Foundation’s 2013 America’s Health Rankings.
“The DDR Classroom Edition helps teach kids that physical activity can be fun and enjoyable, while fostering the development of healthy attitudes and habits that can last a lifetime,” said Laurine Tibaldi, M.D., FHM, chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare of Nevada. “Our partnership with KONAMI and the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada engages young people in improving their health and represents an important step toward reducing childhood obesity in our state.”
Studies indicate exergaming has the potential to reduce the growing obesity epidemic among children and adults. A recent study by George Washington University found exergames “spurred students to move enough to meet the recommended intensity criteria for vigorous activity” and that these games are “a useful alternative to traditional physical education.”
DDR Classroom Edition is an interactive video game that combines physical activity with energetic music and visuals. The game and associated hardware technology, developed by Performance Designed Products, enables dozens of students to participate simultaneously, using wireless mat controllers featuring a smart card reader that tracks each student’s individual progress.
“Since DanceDanceRevolution’s debut, KONAMI has been at the forefront of exergaming. DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition is a shining example of our ongoing commitment to create fun, innovative and interactive ways for young people to get exercise,” said Clara Baum, senior director of strategic marketing and partnerships, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. “We applaud UnitedHealthcare and the Boys & Girls Club for taking advantage of exergaming and DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition as a solution for combatting childhood obesity.”
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide.