Wii Fit games 'help control diabetes'

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Playing "active" computer games can help people with type-2 diabetes better control their blood sugar, a medical trial has indicated.

Researchers recruited 220 diabetic patients for their study and asked half to use Nintendo's Wii Fit Plus for half an hour a day over three months.

The gamers not only lost weight but also achieved lower glucose levels.

When the other group later switched to play the Wii they had similar benefits, BMC Endocrine Disorders reports.

Start Quote

Further research will be needed to identify the long-term effects of such games compared to other approaches”

End Quote Dr Richard Elliott of Diabetes UK

Experts said exercise in any shape or form could be good, but that some activities would offer greater benefits than others.

Being active is particularly important for people with diabetes. It helps the body use insulin more efficiently as well as stay generally fit and keep a healthy weight.

For some, exercising and sticking to a healthy diet may be enough to keep diabetes in check.

Prof Stephan Martin and colleagues from the West German Centre for Diabetes and Health, who carried out the study, say exercise computer games offer an alternative way to get people physically active.

But they also note that getting people to stick at it could be harder - a third of their study participants dropped out of the trial.

Those who did persevere saw significant improvements in a measure of blood sugar control called HbA1c.

And they reported improvements in wellbeing 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.

"To make physical activity part of your daily routine it's important to find an approach that works for you and is enjoyable, as this will make it easier to keep active in the long run.

"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."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    You really can get a safe and enjoyable workout with the wii fit board and software but I haven't got the discipline to keep it up. However I sweat buckets playing table tennis and boxing, no change in my pre-diabetes since last year, Best piece of hardware I have bought recently is an air fryer though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Everyone cheats on the wii, all you have to do is move a wrist

    kinect however will MAKE you move. I remember when i played it often and after 10 mins i was sweating like a good'un!

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I am a type 2 diabetic. A mixture of medication, diet and excersise (I dance 2 -5 times a week) and my HbA1c is as good as anybodys without diabetes. I am astounded everytime I go to the clinic for a check, but I must be doing something right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Aren't they basically saying that physical exercise is good for you?

    I've always found it comical that the Wii is marketed as the computer game to help you exercise.

    Newsflash:- you don't need a console to exercise!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Perhaps doing more exercise in general would help? As a type 1, I know I have to control my activity.


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