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Type 2 Diabetes Patient Benefit from Video Games

Playing Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus led to improvements in many diabetic measurements…. 

In a recent randomized controlled trial, German researchers analyzed the effects of playing an interactive exercise video game would have on diabetic patients. By asking 120 type 2 diabetic patients to participate in a 12 week video game program on the Nintendo Wii called ‘Wii Fit Plus’ and then comparing their diabetic measurements to 100 type 2 diabetic patients who did not play the video, researchers were able to see if there was a health improvement for the intervention group. The age range for all participants was 50 – 75.

After the 12 weeks, the group that played the game was found to have improved A1C levels (from 7.1% to 6.8%; P=.0002), reductions in fasting blood glucose (from 135.8 mg/dL to 126.6 mg/dL; P=.04), reductions in weight (from 97.6 kg to 96.3 kg; P<.001), and reductions in BMI (from 34.1 to 33.5; P<.001) compared to the control group. In addition to improvements in diabetic parameters, the intervention group was found to report higher improvements in well-being and quality of life as compared to the control group.

This study demonstrates that interactive video games could provide type 2 diabetic patients with activities that are fun and convenient as well as healthy.

Practice Pearls:
  • Playing Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus for 12 weeks lead to lower A1C measurements, lower fasting blood glucose levels, weight reductions, and BMI reductions in type 2 diabetic patients.
  • Diabetic patients reported improvements in quality of life and wellbeing after playing Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus for 12 weeks.
  • Interactive video games may be an effective and convenient way to improve the health of type 2 diabetic patients.

BMC Endocrine Disorders, December 2013