Preliminary findings of a West Virginia University clinical study show that playing Dance Dance Revolution is "helping kids improve heart health and fitness, even if weight loss isn't always occurring." Let's review some basics before the comments section explodes in a collective "DUH!" Studies are required to show proof of something and although it seems quite obvious that getting kids -- or anyone else for that matter -- playing DDR would obviously improve their health and fitness, it still needs to be studied. Earlier this year West Virginia was incredibly progressive, announcing they'd place Dance Dance Revolution in all 765 public schools in the state to fight obesity. This study, although apparently unrelated, definitely helps defend the DDR decision from earlier this year.
This study was a 24-week at-home clinical study of 35 children. Ages 7 to 12 with higher than the 85th percentile for body-mass index. The greatest difference found by the researchers was just general attitude towards fitness improved. Kids don't hate being fit, they hate doing boring stuff or suffering through schoolyard indignity to do it. There's really nothing wrong with DDR or this entire school initiative. According to the article, DDR will fully saturate the West Virginia school system by the summer of 2007. Now we wait twenty years to see if West Virginia ends up becoming the skinniest or healthiest state in the nation.