Will Nintendo "Wii Fit" Get You Fit? An Evaluation of the Energy Expenditure from Active-Play Videogames

Games Health J. 2014 Apr;3(2):86-91. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2013.0078. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Abstract

Objective: This study aimed to determine whether Nintendo(®) (Redmond, WA) "Wii Fit™" games can help individuals meet physical activity recommendations.

Subjects and methods: Thirty young healthy volunteers were recruited for this randomized crossover study to evaluate the energy expenditure associated with (1) a 30-minute "Wii Fit Free Run," (2) three 10-minute bouts of "Wii Fit" aerobic games ("Rhythm Boxing," "Super Hula Hoop," and "Advanced Steps"), and (3) 30-minute treadmill running/walking. Energy expenditure was measured by indirect calorimetry using breath-by-breath analyses of O2 consumption and CO2 production.

Results: The "Wii Fit" conditions produced a moderate exercise intensity (5.0, 4.1, 3.9, and 3.8 metabolic equivalents [METs] in "Free Run," "Rhythm Boxing," "Super Hula Hoop," and "Advanced Steps"), whereas the treadmill running/walking produced a vigorous exercise intensity (METs=8.0). Based on federal guidelines, an individual could achieve the minimum weekly goal of 500 MET-minutes by playing selected "Wii Fit" aerobics games for 20-26 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Conclusions: Although not as vigorous as the treadmill, active-play videogames such as "Wii Fit" may provide an alternative way to encourage exercise and increase adoption and adherence to the physical activity guidelines.