Game publisher Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. has announced a three-year partnership with the State of West Virginia whereby all 765 West Virginia public schools will be adding rhythm game Dance Dance Revolution to their physical education or health related curriculum based program within the next two years.
According to an official statement, in the first phase of the program, all of the state's 103 middle/junior high schools will incorporate DDR into their curriculum in the coming months.
As childhood obesity continues to reach epidemic proportions in the state, the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) and the West Virginia University's (WVU) Motor Development Center were inspired to enter into the partnership after experiencing positive results in increasing children's levels of physical activity with its clinically based Games for Health research project. The Agency recognized the cutting edge technology and affordability of Dance Dance Revolution as well as the success the game has had in combating the sedentary lifestyle of children as they lose weight in a fun and exciting way.
"Bringing the health benefits and enjoyment that DDR provides to school children is a great way to combat childhood obesity that is caused by the sedentary lifestyle of today's kids," said Clara Gilbert, Director of Business Partnerships, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. "DDR has been a proven success in schools and this program with the State of West Virginia demonstrates the positive effects that can come from making DDR a part of one's daily routine. This first-of-its-kind partnership will help us continue to demonstrate the benefits of DDR to consumers around the country."
As part of the initiative, the state will develop a school-based DDR curriculum and collect data in order to analyze and report on the health and academic benefits of using DDR in schools. Representatives of PEIA, WVU's Motor Development Center, the West Virginia Department of Education, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield and Konami shall oversee the project. The state will share the results of this study with Konami and publish the results of the study in reputable professional journals.
"Addressing childhood obesity is among the top priorities of Governor Manchin's administration. DDR offers West Virginia a unique opportunity to turn 'screen time' into active time while allowing children residing in even the most rugged terrain an opportunity for physical activity," said Nidia Henderson, Wellness Director of PEIA.