Wii

Reporter: Jackie Quist

Video and computer games have traditionally been a bugbear for parents, trying to get their children off the couch and active. In fact, they've often been blamed for contributing to our rising obesity problem. With up to 95% of Australian children under the age of 18 buying and playing video games every week, it's not surprising that a quarter of our kids are now classified as obese. But now, the manufacturers are changing tact, cashing in on social concerns, making the latest games more active -- but just as addictive. Jackie and Adrian Jacobsen are often in competition with 7-year-old Rick and 9- year- old Zak. "It's a new generation of video games and I love all the sports, running around, it gets me tired. And also the family, we get together some nights and we'll all have a bowl, play some tennis or all sorts of things", said Adrian. The machine can analyze Body Mass Index -- determining if you are underweight, ideal weight, overweight or obese -- and comes with more than 40 exercises such as step aerobics, snowboarding, tightrope walking and hula hoop. The average age of gamers is 28 and one in three is a parent, who are perhaps just big kids after all. "I did yoga many years ago when I was pregnant and don't have time to slot it in, so now when the kids are in bed or mucking around at home, I can do yoga in the house so that's great", Jackie said. 18 months after having baby Ella, Kirsten Sherwell needs an exercise method that doesn't occupy much time. "My yoga class I try and get to every week, goes for an hour and a half, but if I can gain some benefit from doing something for 10 or 20 minutes when I've got that time to myself, then every little bit helps I think", Kirsten said. We did our own investigation, asking former World Aerobics Champion, Sue Stanley, to road test Wii. "it's not going to take it away from going out there and going for your 45 minute walk, but its a great substitute. Let's face it, if you're going to have kids sitting facing the TV, playing games, I'd much prefer them getting their strength and coordination and their balance working", Sue said. Nintendo's "Wii" will be released nationally in June this year.