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Fitness video games could be of benefit to diabetes sufferers

Having to cope with diabetes is a daily reality for many individuals here in Minnesota. Diabetes can make controlling one's weight and blood sugar levels very difficult and can have a wide-ranging collection of physiological effects on a person. Diabetes and its effects can significantly impact a person's quality of life and can interfere with things like a person's ability to work. Thus, finding tools and methods that can help diabetes sufferers to address and manage the effects of their diabetes is a very important endeavor.

A recent study indicates that fitness video games may be beneficial to individuals with diabetes.

The study's subjects were 220 individuals with diabetes. At the study's start, researchers used evaluations and questionnaires to acquire data on things like the weight, fasting blood sugar levels and quality of life of the subjects. The researchers then, for a 12-week period, had some of the subjects use a Wii video game system to play the game Wii Fit, a fitness video game, for half an hour a day in addition to their regular diabetes care and the rest of the subjects just receive their usual care. When the 12-week period ended, the researchers conducted the same evaluations and surveys that they did at the start of the study.

The researchers found that the individuals who played the Wii Fit game in addition to their regular diabetes care showed improvements in their quality of life, their ability to manage their blood sugar levels and their ability to manage their weight. After the initial 12-week period, the researchers had the subjects who had not been using the Wii system start playing Wii Fit. According to the researchers, after the switch, these subjects began to also show the above-mentioned improvements.

This study's findings, while intriguing, do leave many questions unanswered, such as:

  • What are the long-term effects of regular use of fitness video games by diabetes sufferers?
  • How does use of fitness video games compare to other exercise methods when it comes to benefits for individuals with diabetes?
  • What factors influence how effective fitness video games would be as an exercise aid for a given diabetes sufferer?

It will be worth watching to see if future studies are conducted investigating these questions.

Source: Medical Daily, "Nintendo's Wii Fit Helps People With Diabetes Control Their Weight And Blood Sugar Levels," Justin Caba, Dec. 10, 2013

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