Here's something you don't see every single day: an agency that
advocates getting off your rear and exercising, endorsing a video game
console. It's sort of like the Twilight Zone, but sure enough, the
American Heart Association is actually putting their stamp of approval
on Nintendo's Wii
console and a number of their games (Wii Fit, for
example, which coaches users in various exercises). According to the
joint press release, the two companies are joining forces to "promote
healthy living through active-play video games."
The partnership is a new one designed to motivate consumers to "get
informed, get empowered and get active," which honestly doesn't take a
video game console to accomplish. But given just how many millions of
Wii consoles there are, this partnership may actually encourage people
to get fit even if they don't really like venturing outside.
Reportedly, this new multifaceted strategic relationship will help
people "create healthy lifestyles through physically active play," with
the two working together to help consumers discover how active-play
video games contribute to healthy living. Clyde Yancy, M.D., president
of the American Heart Association, had this to say:
"Our two organizations come from different worlds, but we share a common
goal. Showing people accessible ways to stay active has been a
part of our mission for decades, but our research tells us nearly 70
percent of Americans are getting no regular physical activity. As an
organization we are looking for ways to change this. Nintendo has
demonstrated clear leadership in active-play video games with the
popularity of the Wii system, and I’m confident that together we can
encourage Americans to become more physically active."
The Wii has been getting people off of the couch to game since
launching in 2006, but few have actually used it as a fitness machine.
In reality, the AHA symbol on Nintendo gear is not much more than a
marketing ploy (the AHA is getting upwards of $1.5 million from
Nintendo over three years), as Nintendo
can basically say now that it's
the only game console on the market endorsed by the American Heart
Association. It's more than likely that this ia bigger win for Nintendo
than the overall health of America, but hopefully it'll still encourage
people to get active when they otherwise would not.