Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced a three-year partnership with the State of West Virginia that will help the state's public school students get in shape while also having fun. Through the program, all 765 West Virginia public schools will be adding the excitement of Dance Dance Revolution
(DDR) to their physical education or health related curriculum based program within the next two years. In the first phase of the program, all of the state's 103 middle/junior high schools will incorporate DDR into their curriculum in the coming months.
As childhood obesity continues to reach epidemic proportions in the state, the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) and the West Virginia University's (WVU) Motor Development Center were inspired to enter into the partnership after experiencing positive results in increasing children's levels of physical activity with its clinically based Games for Health research project. The Agency recognized the cutting edge technology and affordability of Dance Dance Revolution as well as the success the game has had in combating the sedentary lifestyle of children as they lose weight in a fun and exciting way.
"Bringing the health benefits and enjoyment that DDR provides to school children is a great way to combat childhood obesity that is caused by the sedentary lifestyle of today's kids," said Clara Gilbert, Director of Business Partnerships, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. "DDR has been a proven success in schools and this program with the State of West Virginia demonstrates the positive effects that can come from making DDR a part of one's daily routine. This first-of-its-kind partnership will help us continue to demonstrate the benefits of DDR to consumers around the country."
As part of the initiative, the state will develop a school-based DDR curriculum and collect data in order to analyze and report on the health and academic benefits of using DDR in schools. Representatives of PEIA, WVU's Motor Development Center, the West Virginia Department of Education, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield and Konami shall oversee the project. The state will share the results of this study with Konami and publish the results of the study in reputable professional journals.
"Addressing childhood obesity is among the top priorities of Governor Manchin's administration. DDR offers West Virginia a unique opportunity to turn 'screen time' into active time while allowing children residing in even the most rugged terrain an opportunity for physical activity," said Nidia Henderson, Wellness Director of PEIA.
Since it was first introduced to North American video game consoles in 2001, Dance Dance Revolution has sold more than three million units across all platforms. More recently, the phenomenon has received a tremendous amount of exposure for its health benefits. Each version of the game has a unique workout mode that allows users to track calories burned and conduct their own fitness regiment. A major part of the new trend in gaming that takes players off of the couch and away from the joystick, DDR has recently been introduced as part of the physical fitness curriculum in multiple school districts in the United States. Additionally, it has been a part of numerous research studies on childhood obesity.