Active video games aid diabetes patients

Older adults with type 2 diabetes might be able to meet activity guidelines using the Wii Fit Plus system, according to a Swiss study published in the fall.

Researchers tested the oxygen consumption of 12 overweight or obese patients with type 2 diabetes on a treadmill and days later while playing games featuring boxing, an obstacle course and cycling.

Playing the Wii Fit games brought heart rate and resting energy expenditures into the range of moderate aerobic activity, the researchers reported. Participants reached more than 40% of the maximum oxygen consumption they had achieved on the treadmill test. The results were published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of moderate to vigorous aerobic activities, along with twice-weekly strength training.

“Video gaming has the potential to offer training intensities that concur with established guidelines for type 2 diabetic patients,” the study said. “The training intensity is self-adjusting based on fitness level allowing for an effective workout for different users.”