AOA Resolution to Recommend Video Games to Patients

I was recently contacted by a representative of the American Osteopathic Association who thought I might be interested in the AOA’s upcoming business and policy meeting. Representatives of the nation’s more than 67,000 osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) will convene July 17-18 for the AOA’s Annual House of Delegates Meeting in Chicago, IL. Delegates representing osteopathic state medical associations, specialty societies, interns, residents, and students will vote on organizational policies surrounding a variety of health care issues, such as prohibiting the advertisement and sale of raw milk and the recommendation that physically active video games could be considered as a component of a patient’s fitness routine.

Here is an excerpt from the pre-meeting news release about the video games resolution:

Physically Active Video Games: After years of being blamed for contributing to America’s childhood obesity problem, many video games are now incorporating a fitness component, such as exercising with a virtual trainer or following a dance routine. Delegates will vote on whether physicians should consider recommending physically active video games as an element of a patient’s exercise program. The policy also would direct the AOA to encourage additional research about the health benefits of using physically active video games as part of both an exercise routine and a patient’s rehabilitation.

As a medical student considering pediatrics as a career and as an avid video game player for over 20 years, I can’t help but be excited about the potential for mutual benefit here. Patients have a hard time committing to long-term fitness goals because it’s difficult to stay motivated when your exercise routine isn’t particularly stimulating. And video games have long been one of the many scapegoats for America’s childhood obesity epidemic. I am certainly guilty of blaming a lack of physical activity on a video game once or twice myself. But with new titles like Wii Fit and EA Sports Active introducing what seems to be a lasting trend of fitness-focused video games, the potential benefits to health care can’t be overlooked. I’ll be following developments on this front closely.

About D.O.s and Osteopathic Medicine

  • What is a D.O.? – Information about the differences and similarities in training between an osteopathic physician (D.O.) and an M.D.
  • Osteopathic Medical Profession Report – Statistical information about the osteopathic medical profession.
  • Style Guide – Proper terminology and guidelines for referring to D.O.s and osteopathic medicine.
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One Response to AOA Resolution to Recommend Video Games to Patients

  1. wiifatmarathondotcom says:

    How is your Wii Fit use been lately? I’m glad to see the AOA address this issue. Maybe I’m not the only “nut” who thinks you can lose weight and get in shape with video games. Nintendo, for better or for worse, has made me what I am today!

    - Greg

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