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Wii Fit Plus benefits patients with diabetes

pharmafile | December 10, 2013 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing bmc, diabetes, games, type 2, wii fit plus 

A study says using interactive games through Nintendo’s Wii console helped type 2 diabetics to control their disease and improve quality of life.

This is according to a new trial conducted on 220 diabetics and published this week in the BMC Endocrine Disorders Journal. The study split the patients into two groups – one who use the game (intervention) and one in a control group.

The intervention group was provided with a Wii console, a balance board and the exercise game Wii Fit Plus for 12 weeks, while the control group remained under normal care and received the items 12 weeks later.

After the three months (and for the control group additionally after 12 weeks of intervention) patients in the intervention group significantly improved their blood sugar levels (HbA1c) in comparison to the control group.

They also significantly reduced fasting blood glucose and body mass index. Daily physical activity increased significantly while subjective well-being and quality of life also improved significantly, and the number of patients with depression decreased.

Similar improvements were seen in the control group after exercise game intervention, the results found. But the researchers also note that getting people to stick at it could be harder – a third of their study participants dropped out of the trial.

But overall the authors concluded that the Wii Fit Plus was able to motivate type 2 diabetes patients to improve physical activity, glucometabolic control and quality of life.

Dr Richard Elliott of Diabetes UK said: “Physical activity and a healthy balanced diet, along with taking doctor-prescribed medications if necessary, can help people with type 2 diabetes to control their condition and minimise their risk of diabetes related complications over time.

“Computer games that promote a healthy lifestyle might be one way to achieve this, but different forms of physical activity might work better for different people. Further research will be needed to identify the long-term effects of such games compared to other approaches.”

Ben Adams

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