Konami and the West Virginia Games For Health project have revealed the results of a clinical study into exergaming using Dance Dance Revolution
, indicating that regular use of the game "improves arterial function in overweight children".
The 24-week at-home clinical study, conducted by West Virginia University and the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency, required participants to play the game five days per week for at least 30 minutes and to record their activity while WVU monitored several health indicators over the course of the study including: weight, blood pressure, body mass index, arterial function, fitness levels and attitudes towards exercise.
The PEIA sponsored, previously announced
research was conducted by Dr. Linda Carson, WVU’s Ware Distinguished Professor of the School of Physical Education and Emily Murphy, pediatric exercise physiologist with WVU School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. They found that the subjects, all above the 85th percentile for body mass index according to gender and age, improved their general health and reduced their risks for lifestyle related diseases.
“One of earliest indicators of cardiovascular risk is decreased arterial function. The walls of the arteries are lined with endothelial cells which are important in allowing our blood vessels to expand properly in response to an increase in blood flow, such as during exercise,” stated Murphy. “This Institutional Review Board approved study has now provided evidence that consistent playing of DDR improves arterial function in overweight children.”
The researchers have found that although not all of the children lost weight, the majority did not gain weight while experiencing improvements in their aerobic capacity, blood vessel function and overall fitness level. Just as significantly, their attitudes towards exercise improved as did their self esteem. Murphy pointed out that, “Most of our subjects had historically felt awkward about participating in gym and physical activity at school. After the program, they demonstrated a new sense of confidence and desired to maintain their new found skills.”
The study was born out of a need to address the alarming epidemic of childhood obesity. Nidia Henderson, PEIA’s Health Promotions Director, remarked, “Unfortunately, West Virginia’s children do not currently have sufficient opportunities for healthful eating and regular physical activity. Dance Dance Revolution
provides an appealing solution to part of the problem as a high tech, easily accessible game that can be played virtually anywhere.”
The Office of West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Department of Education, the Benedum Foundation, Acordia National, and Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield are providing financial support for the project which is currently providing DDR
equipment, training PE teachers, and promoting DDR
clubs in all West Virginia public schools.