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CES 2013: Game fights childhood obesity

childhood obesity

At this year’s International CES in Las Vegas, UnitedHealthCare and Konami joined forces in an effort to reduce childhood obesity through Konami’s DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition game.

UnitedHealthcare and Konami Digital Entertainment announced at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a joint effort to reduce childhood obesity through Konami’s new DanceDanceRevolution (DDR) Classroom Edition, the latest iteration of the wildly popular dance game that has shown to encourage physical activity among adults and children.

DDR Classroom Edition is an interactive video game, also known as an “exergame,”” that combines physical activity with energetic music and visuals. The game and associated hardware technology, which was developed by Performance Designed Products, enables up to 48 students to participate simultaneously, using wireless mat controllers that feature a smart card reader that tracks each student’s individual progress. While students move to the beat, teachers receive vital information about their students’ health including, steps, body mass index (BMI) and caloric burn rate.

Konami and UnitedHealthcare launched the game at three schools located in Longwood, Fla.: Gainesville, Ga.: and Fresno, Texas. The participating schools, with assistance from KONAMI and UnitedHealthcare, will use the game to track its impact on students’ health, well-being and exercise habits.

The program builds on UnitedHealthcare’s deep expertise in developing practical solutions to control childhood obesity, including collaborations with school systems nationwide. This latest collaboration will also be incorporated into ‘Activate for Kids, a school wellness initiative operated by UnitedHealthcare and United Health Foundation in partnership with school systems throughout Florida, Georgia and Texas.

“”DanceDanceRevolution introduced a generation of young people to an innovative and fun approach to physical activity,”” said Clara Baum, senior director of strategic marketing and partnerships, Konami. “”With the recent launch of our Classroom Edition and Konami’s collaboration with UnitedHealthcare, we see the healthy lifestyle benefits of expanding the active video games or ‘exergaming’ platform and making this fun, physical activity system available to as many people as possible.””

Studies indicate “”exergaming,”” which refers to video games such as DDR Classroom Edition that are also a form of exercise, have the potential to reduce the growing obesity epidemic among children and adults. Recognized by leading researchers, schools, and doctors as an innovative and fun solution to promoting a healthy lifestyle and fighting childhood obesity: DDR Classroom Edition launches with support from key partners, including the American Diabetes Association and Sony Music.

“”The DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition teaches kids that physical activity can be fun and enjoyable, while fostering the development of healthy attitudes and habits that can last a lifetime,”” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “”By developing innovative collaborations that engage young people in improving their health, we are taking an important step toward reducing childhood obesity in our country.””

In addition to showcasing DDR Classroom Edition, UnitedHealthcare’s 4,000-square-foot exhibitor booth at CES demonstrates how the health care company’s health benefits, services and technologies are helping to simplify the consumer health care experience by making helpful, practical information more accessible and affordable through personal technology devices such as smartphones, video game consoles and television programming.

CES attendees can interact with a wide range of innovative health tools, including:

• myHealthcare Cost Estimator This online and mobile tool gives consumers the transparency they need to understand health care costs and quality for specific physicians and hospitals: enables them to compare costs and quality of alternative treatments: and provides personalized out-of-pocket cost estimates based on current benefits, applicable network discounts and health financing accounts.

• Health4Me This powerful mobile app helps UnitedHealthcare plan participants on the go find in-network doctors, benefit information and claim status.

• Senior Digital Journey By better understanding how individuals experience health care and insurance, UnitedHealthcare is gaining insights in how to enhance its service delivery to fit the behavior, needs and desires of its customers.

• UnitedHealthcare Community Rewards™ This program rewards children with points for healthy habits such as visiting their doctors regularly for checkups or brushing their teeth. Then they are able to redeem the points for valuable rewards such as a camera or a bicycle.

“”The health care system is undergoing a substantial transformation, with technology and innovative collaborations such as the one with Konami playing crucial roles in that process,”” said Dr. Tuckson. “”Through the technologies and collaborations being showcased during CES, UnitedHealthcare is taking important steps to enhance the health system and empower people to take charge of their personal health like never before.””

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