GOOD

Can Students 'Dance Dance' Their Way to a Fitness Revolution?

Dance Dance Revolution Classroom Edition is bringing some fancy footwork to the fight against childhood obesity.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbTuDWqAIPM&feature=player_embedded

Stroll through any arcade, and you’ll spot at least a few teenagers grooving to electronic beats on one of those Dance Dance Revolution consoles. A new partnership wants to take advantage of that DDR craze—which is more than a decade old and still going strong—to keep kids healthy.


Konami, the game company behind DDR, is teaming with prominent health and fitness organizations like First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to launch the Dance Dance Revolution Classroom Edition, a school-appropriate version that will bring some energy to the battle against childhood obesity.

Each classroom edition of the game will come with 48 wireless mat controllers that connect to a single computer. As the students dance, the teacher will receive data on fitness stats like how many calories each student is burning or the number of accurate steps they're taking. The students will be able to see their fitness levels improve over time.

The idea seems long overdue. Studies indicate that 40 minutes of playing DDR has the same health benefits as running a 5K race. Meanwhile, budget cuts have stripped many schools—particularly at the elementary level—of their physical education teachers. The plug-and-play nature of the game makes it easier for a non-specialist to supervise, and far more fun for kids than running laps for an hour.

The game's release comes after a series of successful pilot efforts since 2006. And if the lines at the arcade are any indication, DDR is likely to be a hit in the classroom, too.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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