If you’re thinking of buying a Wii this holiday for health-related reasons, you may want to think twice. A professor of health and exercise science at the University of Mississippi reportedly tracked eight families for six months to see if Nintendo’s motion-driven console would impact their fitness levels and found that the console “had little effect on family fitness.”
The study, which began in fall 2008, hoped to determined whether software like Nintendo’s Wii Fit (a hybrid game/fitness trainer) culminates in sufficient physical activity to improve family fitness. The university loaned Wii units with a copy of Wii Fit to eight families in the Oxford, Mississippi for three months, then tracked their fitness levels: Three months without the system, then another three months with.
Families were rated on various metrics like “aerobic fitness” and “balance and body composition,” and pre-study fitness levels were established over a preliminary five day period. Individual usage was tracked using system software, presumably meaning Wii Fit’s personal tracking profiles (as opposed to something custom-made).