Sometimes my work at Microsoft takes an interesting turn. The other day my colleagues in our Interactive Entertainment Business asked if I would help them promote a campaign to fight childhood obesity. The physician in me jumped at the opportunity. After all, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about one third of all children and teens in the United States now fall into the category of being overweight or obese. That is triple the number since I first started practicing medicine in the early 1980’s. And the consequences of so many young people being fat at an early age cannot be ignored. Overweight children are very likely to be overweight adults. With that comes a range of chronic illnesses and disabilities like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, increased risk of stroke and heart disease, and even increased risk for some kinds of cancer.
Today we are kicking off a campaign called the Xbox 360 “60 Million Minutes Challenge”. The objective is to get 1 million kids to pledge that they will play at least 60 minutes each day between now and Super Bowl Sunday on February 3rd. The campaign joins a wider effort initiated by the National Football League called NFL Play 60.
Of course the idea is to get kids more active no matter how they play, but getting in the game with Xbox 360 and Kinect is one such way. If you’ve ever watched kids (and adults) playing with Xbox 360 using Kinect you know what I mean. Kinect for Xbox 360 features controller-free gaming where you use your whole body to play and offers a natural and interactive way for kids to get off the couch – kicking, jumping, and running in place.
The official spokesperson for the NFL Play 60 campaign and our 60 Million Minutes Challenge is the greatest receiver in football history, Jerry Rice. Rice says, “To reverse the trend of childhood obesity, we need to continue to educate kids and parents about the importance of 60 minutes of daily activity. That’s what’s great about Kinect for Xbox 360. It gets kids off the couch and gets their whole body in the game. Being a healthy kid can lead to being a healthy adult."
Created in the spirit of NFL PLAY 60, which encourages kids to get 60 minutes of physical activity daily, the Kinect for Xbox 360 “60 Million Minutes Challenge” is a season-long nationwide movement. From now through Super Bowl XLVII, kids and families can pledge to PLAY 60 at www.Xbox60MillionMinutes.com or online on the Xbox Live dashboard. Those who register their pledge on LIVE can enter for a chance to win NFLShop.com gift cards. On Oct. 9, 2012, the “60 Million Minutes Challenge” Facebook tab will go live and those who pledge via Facebook will have a chance to win a personalized “Social Autograph” on their Facebook wall from a host of current and former NFL stars.
You can learn more about the 60 Million Minutes challenge and what both Jerry Rice and I have to say about the benefits of getting kids active by following this link.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft