Gaming giant Nintendo and the American Heart Association (AHA) are partnering to help Americans become more active. Starting in the next few weeks, Wii systems and the titles WiiFit Plus and Wii Sports Resort will feature the AHA logo and the motto, "Working together to promote physically active play as part of a healthy lifestyle." "Millions of Americans are involved in gaming, and Nintendo is the leader in that space," Dr. Clyde Yancy, President of the AHA, tells FastCompany.com. "This is an opportunity to use this platform to bring forward heart healthy messaging to millions."
Beyond logos, Nintendo and AHA will hold a summit to bring people from the fitness, health, and game industries. "The summit is really a multidisciplinary, multi-faced collection of experts that can bring a number of perspectives to the table," Dr. Yancy says. Cammie Dunaway, executive VP of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo, adds, "To bring together thought leaders who have never come together before is going to create something really impactful."
Heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., Dr. Yancy says, and 70% of Americans are physically inactive. Of that 70%, 40% say the reason don't incorporate physical activity into their lives is because it just isn't fun. "Nintendo is the expert at making experiences fun," Dunaway says. Over 29 million Wiis have been sold in the U.S.
More immediately, these Wii products will be featured at AHA's Start! Heart Walks, and material about the Wii will be available at the AHA Web site. A new Web site for the partnership, ActivePlayNow.com, is also coming. It will feature tests for users to determine their activity needs, info on physical activity including with the Wii, and information on the AHA events and the coming summit.
Since Nintendo launched the Wii, the company has released products that extend the console's relevance to fitness. It is expected to go further with the coming Vitality Sensor, expected to be featured at the game industry's E3 conference next month—although Dunaway declined to comment on those plans. Stay tuned for details on the Sensor and the Nintendo-AHA summit.