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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TIME on Supersized Kids!

6-17-08: Our June 23 issue of TIME magazine came in our mail today, and guess what was the cover story? Pediatric obesity! It's a special health issue so if you don't get this, go out and get it!

On page 110, they gave "10 Tips" on how to get kids to move.
Of course, as usual, Tip #1 was about "unplugging"...

...but then Tip #4 mentioned DDR and the Wii...but that's it!!!
They needed a WHOLE ARTICLE on the exploding field of exergaming with all kinds of exciting pictures. Here's my letter that I wrote to them. We'll see if they print it!

Dear Time Magazine,

Thanks for putting out this special health issue on "Our super-sized kids", especially in light of the recent news that obesity rates in certain age groups are beginning to level off. This is not the time to be backing off and patting ourselves on the back for there is still much to be done.

At the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in 2006, I heard the then US Surgeon General Richard Carmona say that, "...the greatest threat to our national security is pediatric obesity." Why? Because every aspect of our society--healthcare, financial, workforce, retirement, military, etc.--will be negatively impacted which means we will all feel the effects of this epidemic.

While there was a lot of great information and practical advice on what to do, I wish there was more (than the one sentence mentioning DDR and the Wii) on the exploding movement called "exergaming" that is now being utilized to reach this high tech generation of kids who need it most and has attracted the likes of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, which last November announced $8.2 million dollars in grant money for games for health research. (They just recently announced their first 12 recipients of this funding.)

On the RWJF website, exergaming facilities such as the XRtainment Zone demonstrate that healthcare (including health insurance) and video games can be powerful allies in empowering kids and their families to adopt a healthier lifestyle and get the outcomes we need to reverse this epidemic.

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