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West Virginia, which has the worst childhood obesity problem in the United States, is stepping up plans to use Konami Corp.'s "Dance Dance Revolution" to battle the bulge in its schools.
The state, which plans to put the popular dancing video game in every one of its public schools, said on Wednesday research suggested that it helped put a halt to weight gain.
Preliminary results from a 24-week study of 50 overweight or obese children, aged 7 to 12, showed that those who played the game at home for at least 30 minutes five days per week maintained their weight and saw a reduction in some risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
Food intake was not monitored as part of the study, said Emily Murphy, a pediatric exercise physiologist from the West Virginia University School of Medicine's pediatrics department, who was part of the research team.
Murphy said that, prior to the study, most of the children reported feeling awkward about participating in gym and physical activity at school.
Following the study, children from the group reported feeling more confident and willing to try other exercises, she said.