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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do Old People Really Like the Nintendo Wii Fit?

Today, I dusted off the Nintendo Wii Fit exercise board that had collected a layer dust under my TV stand. It is winter in Syracuse and I wanted to get moving and have a little family fun along the way. It was a fun time and afterwards I went online and started catching up on some of the exercise programs on the Wii. While searching, one image I kept coming across were senior citizens seemingly having a blast playing with the Wii. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but does this image really reflect reality? It may be a stereotype, and I know there are exceptions, but most older people I know do not seem very excited to embrace new technology.

So, I did a scientific literature search and lo and behold, I came across an interesting study from Australia that examined this issue. The researchers studied 21 older hospitalized people prior to and after using the Wii Fit during physical therapy. However, when therapy was completed, most preferred traditional physical therapy as opposed to physical therapy programs that used the Wii Fit.

The authors of the study concluded that “Mainstream media portrayals of the popularity of the Wii Fit with older people may not reflect the true acceptability in the older hospitalized population.” Unfortunately, the researchers did not study why the patient’s had this preference. Nevertheless, if you are thinking of getting the Wii Fit for grandma or grandpa, you may want to take the above study into account before making your decision. You can read the full article here.

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