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KEEP FIT AT A COMPUTER; Active City games firm in drive to combat obesity.

Byline: by CAROLINE INNES Health Reporter

A LIVERPOOL company is tackling the UK's growing problem of childhood obesity through a new "active" games console.

Thanks to New Concept Gaming, video games can no longer be blamed for making children lazy and fat as tests have shown that using the new jOG controller burns around 250 calories an hour.

jOG - an add-on gadget which is compatible with existing games - detects when the player takes a step and projects that movement into the game while the player is jogging on the spot.

While direction is still controlled by the standard gamepad, if the player wants their on-screen character to run then they must do the same.

The product is the brainchild of New Concept's managing director Brendan Ludden, from Moreton.

He said that jOG will not only banish game playing's couch potato image but ultimately makes game playing more fun and interactive.

He said: "Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in Liverpool and many sedentary activities are being blamed, not least playing video games.

"jOG is a great way to banish those criticisms and help gaming be both fun and healthy.

"According to a recent study from John Moore's University, the energy expenditure over an hour of gaming while using jOG was 250 calories as opposed to just 85 calories during a normal gaming session.

"During five minutes of jOG gaming, gamers took an average of 630 steps and the level of exercise was comparable to brisk walking.

"If gamers play for an hour then they would take more than 7,500 steps which is a real alternative to going out in the cold and wet for a run or for children to keep active if it is not safe for them to play out."

The daily recommendation for adults is 10,000 steps a day, 11,000 for boys and 13,000 for girls but experts claim many people in the city are gaining weight because of their sedentary lifestyles.

It is estimated that more than 76,000 adults and 13,000 children in Liverpool are now classed as dangerously overweight.

Slim people are now in the minority, with one in four men and one in five women now classed as obese. Others fall within categories between the those two.

The number of overweight children is also rising rapidly, and health officials fear that if current trends continue, up to half of our children will be overweight by 2020.

Brendan added: "During the 70's most of the popular toys encouraged outdoor play, such as the space hopper, roller skates, bikes and skateboards.

"But sadly things have changed.

"The basic fact is that the body loves to move.

"Exercise releases endorphins and other feel good hormones and everyone who has used jOG say it makes game playing much more fun.

"Itmay not banish all the criticism that video games receive but it will encourage gamers to get active and provides a real alternative for people who would rather exercise in the privacy of their own home."


ACTION MAN: Brendan Ludden, from New Concept Gaming, with jOG, the personal in-game sensor; KEEP ON RUNNING: Matt Carver from New Concept Gaming gets fit with jOG
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2008
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