Wii and heart healthNintendo's easy-to-use, family-friendly Wii
console has found its way into the hearts of some 70 million consumers around the world -- but now it's become the first console to win the affections of the American Heart Association itself. The two organizations announced a strategic partnership this week that'll aim to improve the health of Americans via active video games.
"Our two organizations come from different worlds, but we share a common goal," AHA president Dr. Clyde Yancy said. "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."
What'll this mean for consumers? First up, you'll see the AHA logo proudly appearing on the Wii's packaging, and on the boxes of fitness-themed games like Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort. Nintendo and the AHA have also launched a new website, Active Play Now, which hopes to "promote physically active play as part of a healthy lifestyle."
Nintendo games will also be on show at the AHA's Start! Health Walk fitness events -- and the pair are planning a conference later this year to study " the synergies and benefits of active-play video games."
The endorsement also sees Nintendo donating a cool $1.5m to the AHA, over the next three years.
Some recent studies have called into question the Wii's value as a fitness tool, but as one Arizona doctor told ABC News in the wake of the partnership's announcement, even if it's not the equivalent of a more traditional workout, it's still better than nothing.
"I'm fully for encouraging children and adults to use interactive gaming and activity as a form of encouraging active behavior," he said. "It's hard to wolf down Cheetos when you have a Wii controller in your hand."