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Obama administration teams up with the ESA on fitness promotion


For all its talk of "putting down the video games and getting outside," it looks like President Barack Obama's administration is lightening its past rhetoric and embracing video games. Well, at least some video games – what it's calling "active video games." Think Wii Fit, Just Dance, and Zumba Fitness.

The Entertainment Software Association is collaborating with the US Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition to launch the "Active Play Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge," which will task kids and adults with taking on 60 or 30 minutes of "active video gaming activity," respectively, five days per week over the course of six weeks.

Moreover, the collaboration means that your favorite game publishers are adding "PALA+" functionality to their games, allowing gamers to "stay motivated and track their progress in the program." Electronic Arts, Konami Digital Entertainment, Microsoft Corporation, Nintendo of America, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Take-Two Interactive Software/2K Play, and Ubisoft are all listed in the official announcement.

And what will that functionality entail, exactly? The ESA ambiguously describes it as the following:
  • Interactive tools to help kids and families monitor the progress of their physical activity and healthy eating goals
  • Tracking tools to help participants in different schools and communities engage in competition
  • Helpful tips and information on healthy living from PCFSN [President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition]
We're not expecting a ton from the initiative beyond logos slapped into several exergames and another press release trumpeting the program's "enormous success" in a few months, but if some chubbos drop a few pounds due to the initiative, then we've all won.

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