Nintendo's Wii: The Only Game Console Endorsed By The American Heart Association

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.