Konami Teams up with UnitedHealthcare to Fight Childhood Obesity

Konami Teams up with UnitedHealthcare to Fight Childhood Obesity image: DDR CLASSROOM EDITION 

Konami’s DDR Classroom Edition will be introduced at a California school, and the company has once again teamed up with UnitedHealthcare for a new childhood obesity intervention program.

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. will collaborate with United Healthcare on a new health initiative aiming to reduce childhood obesity through school-based exercise gaming programs, UHC announced today at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). UnitedHealthcare will also team up with Zamzee, a social enterprise aiming to improve children’s health by promoting physical activity, for a second obesity prevention program.

As part of the new obesity control initiative, DDR Classroom Edition will be introduced to a school in Southern California, where the popular dance game will be used to track its effects on students’ exercise habits, health, and well-being. Last year, the collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and Konami brought DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition to schools in Florida, Georgia, and Texas.

Numerous studies have shown that active games are a good alternative to traditional PE activities and can reduce the growing obesity rates among children and adults, as that they motivate players to exercise enough to meet the recommended intensity critieria for vigorous activity. DanceDanceRevolution is one of the most popular interactive games, combining exercise with motivating visuals and music and allowing dozens of players to participate simultaneously. Designed particularly for use in schools, the DDR Classroom Edition has so far been a popular choice among schools looking to boost their students’ activity levels.

"DanceDanceRevolution introduced a generation of young people to an innovative and fun approach to physical activity," explained Clara Baum, senior director of strategic marketing and partnerships at Konami Digital Entertainment, in a release. "With DanceDanceRevolution 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."

The Zamzee pilot program will attempt to assess the impact of Zamzee, a digital health tool proven to increase physical activity levels in children and adults, as part of an obesity intervention initiative called JOIN for ME®, launched to help children and their families to lose weight and reduce the risk of obesity-related health issues. About 60 students and their families in Florida, Georgia, and Texas will be provided with Zamzee activity meters which will measure the time and intensity of their physical activity. The students taking part in the program will earn "Pointz" and be able to redeem them for prizes on the Zamzee website. The program will evaluate the impact that the activity meters have on students’ physical activity as opposed to other students participating in JOIN for ME. Lance Henderson, CEO, Zamzee, explained, "Zamzee has proved to be an effective tool in motivating, measuring and managing physical activity, especially in group settings. Through this collaboration we are reaching more young people and helping them get and stay active."


Richard Migliori, M.D., executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group, said, "The Konami and Zamzee programs teach kids that physical activity can be fun and enjoyable, while fostering the development of health attitudes and habits that can last a lifetime. These innovative collaborations that engage young people in improving their health are important steps toward reducing childhood obesity in our country."

For more information about the new health initiative, watch the interview with Arrianne Hoyland, Game Producer at UnitedHealth Group, from the 2014 CES.  

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