back to article 'Wii workout' for overweight pupils plan slammed

Any students hoping to go for a Wii during lesson time will have to hold it for now. A campaign group claims that a scheme suggested by the UK Department of Health (DoH) to introduce the console into classrooms is simply a gimmick. The DoH is backing the trial introduction of Wiis into four Worcestershire high schools, in a …


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  1. Charlie


    As a university student I would take umbrage to the suggestion that we're all lazy, but frankly I can't be arsed.

  2. Matt


    Half the problem seems to be that PE teachers keep trying to get people to practice irrelevant bits of skill rather than just play the game.

    There should be a choice so that those who want to play more seriously can be taught accordingly and the rest can spend more time playing the games.

  3. Sean Aaron

    This is a lame idea...

    Of course if schools hadn't sold off their P.E. grounds in the 80s this might not be regarded seriously...

  4. Richard Large

    He's clearly never been to school recently

    What about those who don't like doing "proprt" sports? The ones who get laughed at whenever they try by pupils and staff alike. The ones who have their morale destroyed because they're a bit overweight or not very good.

    At least the Wii gets them up and moving, gets them interested. You never know, a kid who's good at Wii tennis might just develop a passion for the real thing. I would suggest that Mr Seaton try encouraging these kids instead of forcing them in to, effectivly, psychological torture.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    I hate all this stupid "a computer in every classroom" nonsense. You don't need a computer to learn stuff - that's been true from the year dot until about 1996 (then we entered the grey period).

    Seriously. Fat and lazy students? Get 'em off their arses and doing sports. I'm not a big fan of sports and I hated PE classes (mostly due to the large-muscled idiots and bullies who loved it), but seriously, this obsession with forcing computers needlessly into every aspect of education is doing more harm than good.

    Computers in their place: computing classes and so forth, and then in your own time. But not in place of sports, literature and the rest! Morons.

  6. Rob Crawford

    Would get more exercise if

    they where running around the retailers trying to buy a Wii.

    Though it may constitue a cruel and unusal punishment, that opens the kids up to ridicule from Game store staff

  7. Johnny FireBlade

    +1 with Richard

    People are so quick to reject innovation and new methods when they conflict with more "traditional" means.

    Games are supposed to be fun. Whenever I did PE at school, I never had fun. I never found it enjoyable. The other kids took things far too seriously (a result of overly zealous parents, I'd imagine) and in the end I just "forgot" my kit every week. I'm now overweight and unfit, some 15 years later because the idea never caught on with me, so I found other interests instead (like IT).

    I hate traditionalists. They'll happily keep things "as they are" at the expense of the future. If the result is kids getting more exercise, then why the hell does it matter how they get it?

  8. Paul Fleetwood
    Jobs Horns

    This is a non-story

    and is just a way for the Campaign for Real Education to get a bit of publicity by mentioning a currently well known product,

    much like Greenpeace were doing with the iPod a year or so back.

  9. Simon Ball

    @ Matt

    I couldn’t agree more. I can remember the frustration I felt with games teachers who seemed more concerned with perfecting the game than actually playing it. The primary purpose of schools sports is to force kids to get some exercise, with the secondary purpose of trying to instill

    a love of energetic activity that will keep them exercising. Treating the “school team” as though it were the end-all and be-all of sports does nothing but discourage those kids who will never be good enough to be part of it. Teachers who spend all their time heavily coaching a minority of pupils in order to beat a heavily coached minority from another school are missing the whole point of sport.

    I could go on about how “professional sport” is a contradiction in terms, but I don’t have the energy.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    that kids who would normally skip non-PE lessons could be encouraged to play Dr Kawashima's Brain Training are completely unfounded.

  11. Paul Buxton

    None starter

    Good luck to all the schools when they try to source a Wii, at least 3 people at work were disappointed when they tried before Christmas.

    I think the money would be better spent on shipping all these overweight kids to Borneo where they can learn to be self-sufficient or die. Did anyone else see "Can fat teens hunt?.

  12. Jason Aspinall


    "At least the Wii gets them up and moving, gets them interested. You never know, a kid who's good at Wii tennis might just develop a passion for the real thing."

    Errrm, the last time I saw someone play Wii Tennis, the most movement they did was akin to a five kunckle shuffle (if you get my drift)...Can't somehow see this ever leading to some heffer strutting their stuff across a tennis court, huffing and puffing all the while... Obesity in kids has it's roots in poor diet and generally being apathetic to anything like getting off their arses and doing REAL exercise! Forget the Wii, kick their wobbly arses around a field instead...

  13. Martin Owens

    Wrong problem

    To be honest the current over weight and obesity problem is not due to being more sedentary. It's got everything to do with the highly processed sugary crap that they sell in school cafeteria that causes hunger hormonal imbalance.

    Yes it would be nice to get kids more active, but to be honest I think they'd be more active if they weren't so fat in the first place.

  14. Keith T
    Paris Hilton

    re: FFS!

    I can only assume this is from someone who hasn't been in a classroom for some time.

    I've recently introduced 'Scratch' from MIT in to my local school. The kids have taken to it quickly as they've not been told "This is what you are supposed to do". They play with it instead.

    Am I to assume that that learning a form of programming isn't useful for eight year olds? It's even (dare I mention the 'F' word) fun judging by the chatter and laughs.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bad idea

    On the one hand I agree that if I'd had something like that when I was at school, then maybe's I'd have done a bit more PE. I don't like football, rugby, hockey and the other games that used to be the only choices. I did however find sports I liked at University. Fencing, unfortunatley not something offered at many state schools. I am now a fencing coach and myself and a colleague are in discussion with my local Sports Partnership to look at offering this to the pupils. It can also be done as part of a PE GCSE or A-Level.

    On the other hand, I have a Wii at home and find that it doesn't really give me a workout at all, because I can play tennis and things on it, simply by a flick of the wrist. Not exactly strenuous, so could end up encouraging the kids to simply sit there making the smallest movement possible, which sort of defeats the purpose. If they firget their kit, just make them wlak round the field or something for the lesson. Not as much exercise as running about in a game of rugby, but a lot mroe than you'd get sitting down playing on a computer.

  16. Tim Ling

    Five knuckle shuffle?

    I don't know how you play "Wii Sports" but sitting in a chair mildly flicking your wrist isn't how I end up playing. A game of tennis requires a good metre of space around me, especially during a tough point! And don't start me on the boxing :p Wii sports is not a substitute for real exercise. But it just may get people moving in the right direction.

  17. matt

    little johnny:

    "Sir, I'm to fat to do the normal PE lessons"

    Sir: "I dont think so! Get on the scales!"

  18. Neil Docherty

    The problem with PE...

    From what I remember of school PE lessons, they were a joke. The PE teachers always favoured the kids who could play anyway. They never explained the point of sport (i.e. how running helped keep your heart and lungs healthy) and if the weather was a bit crap they would have us running round the school field 3 bloody times whilst they sat in a van 'supervising' us.

    As a kid, PE was nothing more than a waste of time most of the year. All this was 13 years ago now. Since leaving school (and uni for that matter) I have taken up various sports including squash and 5-a-side and have already participated in 2 half marathons. I doubt the useless PE teachers I had could have done that when I was at school or can claim a scrap of credit for it as they were largely preoccupied with doing as little as possible! My other teachers (such as maths and IT) can definitely take some credit from where I am now.

    My point relating to this topic (kids playing on Wii's) is that kids need to be encouraged to do sport/exercise (fat or thin) and taught the benefits of why they should be doing sport and shown why it can be fun. If the Wii at school improves their fitness by 5%, it encourage more use/exercise at home which could encourage them to take up 'proper' sport/exercise.

    By the way, I was always slim at school (and still am) so the notion of doing exercise to keep slim was pretty irrelevant to me and makes it more of a chor rather than fun (which is how I view it now).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good idea...

    When I was a kid in school (10 years ago), I remember all too well them giving bicycles to the most disruptive students (yes, they were special needs, but they were in some of my classes, disrupting my education, go-go-Gadget "Mixed Ability Classes"). As a fat but well-behaved kid, I got bugger all beyond the hit to my education.

    As for the logic - I'd of been far more interested in using a Wii than dealing with the PE Department, who seemed interested only in those with any talent. The rest of us could do whatever the Hell we wanted. With a Wii, I would have (and do, as I own one now) had great fun competing on it, and getting fit at the same time.

    I got away lightly (excuse the pun), with the focus so squarely on obesity these days, I'd of wanted to hang myself by the age of 16 if I were going through it.

    Of course, now we have the well-meaning (and often right) Campaign for Real Education. Yes, in some places, old-school teachings work best. How about... moderation? The best of old teachings, and the best of new? Or maybe we could bring back chalk and slate, kids did better in those days, after all...

    (Yes, I realize the irony of 'moderation' in a post about obesity.)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ re: FFS!

    "Am I to assume that that learning a form of programming isn't useful for eight year olds?"

    No, I said that computers do have their place. I believe I mentioned computer labs. Computer labs aren't restricted to universities, you know - there's nothing wrong with eight-year-olds using computers (I was learning to program BBC BASIC on my BBC Master, and playing Elite and Castle Quest at that age) but my point was that it should stay WHERE IT BELONGS. I agree with half of these other posts - shuffling a few paces to play a tennis game is nothing like actually playing tennis. These kids need exercise, not yet another reason to be (relatively) static indoors.

  21. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Campaign for Real Education

    Aren't these the lot who've complained every education act since the mid 19th Century has been a regressive step that will only hasten the end of Empire and a lack of respect for the Empress of India?

  22. Jason Aspinall


    Nah, the tennis is a piece of cake to play with simply wrist flicks...nowt to do with massive movement (same goes for the ten pin bowling). That said, when I've played the boxing game, I end up sweating more than a naughty person on a rape charge! I lead a relatively active life chasing my fourteen month old son around my house stopping him from destroying it brick by brick too! :D

  23. Glen Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    another +1 with Richard

    @ neil

    its a chore for us larger kids as well :), thus the plus 1 for richard.

    Anything that makes exercise more fun is a winner imho, Sprinting after a ball till your chest hurts, while being shoved around by brutes - sorry - "normal" kids was not my idea of fun then, nor now.

    Although if your going to use the wii, then perhaps a light cardio vascular workout (ie aerobics), would be better?

    most of the equipment isnt exacty 200 quid per person (not including broken remotes/tellys) and most of the pressure is taken off if the freaks - sorry - "healthy" kids are off doing a seperate activity more suited to their bloodlust - sorry - "level of fitness".

  24. Spleen

    Lessons are not supposed to be enjoyed, they're supposed to improve you

    If you're thick, you still have to do Maths. If you have the manual dexterity of a hippo in high heels, you still have to do Art. If you're fat, you still have to do PE. You never know, you might actually become slightly less stupid, slightly more dextrous, slightly less overweight, as a result of the lessons. You certainly won't if you skip them and go off to play Wii courtesy of some stupid government Pork 2.0 project. Forcing children to do things in order to improve themselves and their future prospects is called educashun, stoopid.

    I can't believe the number of people who are acting like playing Wii is actually a decent workout. Last week not only did a study prove that it isn't, but commenters then greeted it with "Thanks, Professor Obvious of the Department of Obvious Studies at the University Of Duh." But tell them that they can save kids from the horrors of PE - even if it means ending up with yet more cottonwooled kidults who sue when they walk into someone round a corner because they've not been allowed to have any experience of human confrontation - and inconvenient things like facts are forgotten.

  25. Jon

    @Martin Owens

    Actually I think there is far too much focus on diet and not enough on excercise. If you think 50 year s ago people were eating bread and dripping (carbohydrate soaked in a pool of fat) but instead of sitting around each evening and not using that energy where as in the past bordem would cause more actvity outside.

    However I do think wii would be good to get people started and perhaps setting PE by ability to remove the uber competive to make it more "fun"

  26. Darryl Stark

    Reminds me of this...

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