Medical research appears to have confirmed that Wii Fit and other “sports” games offering apparent physical exertion actually have no positive effect on fitness at all.
The study, conducted by an associate professor of health and exercise science at the University of Mississippi, took the form of a comparative case study of eight American families, whose physical fitness was recorded for 6 months each, with each family given 3 months of Wii Fit usage and 3 months of non-usage.
The research concluded that the game “produced no significant changes in daily physical activity, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance or body composition,” although it did find a “significant increase in aerobic fitness” in the children studied.
Since usage of the routine dropped off rapidly, from 22 minutes daily initially to 4 minutes after 6 weeks, the research generously concludes that “modest amounts of daily Wii Fit use may have provided insufficient stimulus for fitness changes.”
A less circumspect appraisal might be that the families had no real interest in getting fit in the first place, else they would already be exercising properly, although since this likely describes most Wii Fit users the research conclusions are probably valid all the same.
Considering its success in getting “brain training” games endorsed by medical specialists, Nintendo might want to commission some favourable research in this area too…