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Health, Efficiency and Video Games in a Fascinating Generation

Armen Hareyan's picture

We are living in a fascinating generation. To cook mashed potatoes, we simply add water to a powder. To buy our groceries, we use a click of the mouse. And to play tennis, we wave around an odd contraption known as a “Wii-mote.” This is a fascinating generation, indeed.

Technology has consumed our lifestyles and we are more than glad to embrace it. The powders are our meals, the Internet is our delivery man, and the “Wii-mote” (with additional accessories) is our yoga instructor, tennis racket, baseball coach and pair of snow skis. Most peculiarly, it can be used by people of all ages - the young, the old, the infant and the young adult. A grandmother can be in a boxing ring with her grandson and a young father can go bowling with his little toddler - all without leaving the living room.

Even more intriguing are the motions required to play, that is, the real-life motions. This means that when little Timmy plays baseball with his daddy, he’s actually swinging his arm when at bat, and he’s actually tossing the ball when pitching. This “Wii-mote” promotes good, clean, family fun while simultaneously addressing our rapidly growing inactivity rates.

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But the utility of this “Wii-mote” does not end there. In addition to getting us off of the couch, the Wii has been played by the elderly, cancer patients, injured soldiers and even stroke victims, according to analysis by a health insurance organization. The Wii helps them maintain activity in a more entertaining way. Could this be the one tool that finally puts Americans back into shape?

Probably not. In this fascinating generation that we live in, efficiency is valued over anything else. Get your tasks done as fast as possible, and you must make sure that it’s (somehow) quality work. While most of us are on our way to thanking the fitness gods for the Nintendo Wii, it is a sad reality that the “Wii-mote” (with its additional accessories) will get stored in the closet alongside the treadmill, the ab cruncher, and the only-equipment-you’ll-ever-need exercise machine. Playing the Wii for fitness is inefficient. In fact, 64% of Japanese Wii Fit players claimed to have "stopped using after purchase."

And what has valuing efficiency delivered to our health? In 2006, it gave us four states with a < 20% obesity rate, twenty-two states with a < 25% obesity rate and two states with a < 30% obesity rate.

With all of the techniques we implore to save time, many of us cannot take the time to save our health. This is a fascinating generation, indeed.