San Diego

San Diego Children Receive NERF Energy Game Kits to Fight Childhood Obesity

The San Diego Sockers got over 100 kids moving Monday morning before handing out NERF Energy game kits that encourage children to work out.

UnitedHealthcare and Hasbro donated 150 game kits to the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in Mountain View.

The Sockers distributed the game kits in an effort to reduce youth obesity through exercise. Each kit included a game band, a pro foam soccer ball and instructions to download the Nerf Energy Rush mobile game to get kids moving.

Monique Knight, Marketing and Community Relations Manager for UnitedHealthcare, explained to parents and kids in attendance how the game kits incorporate technology through the concept of “exergaming.”

“The game is designed to encourage physical activity and track activity for youth who play it,” Knight explained. “We are encouraging kids to exercise in order to earn game time with the video game. Kids wear an activity tracker on the wrist and as they exercise throughout the day they earn energy points, those energy points are converted into play time,” Knight said.

Nationwide, approximately one in five children and adolescents are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In California, the childhood obesity rate is much higher. According to America’s Health Rankings, about 30 percent of children are considered obese, that’s almost one in every three children ages two to 19.

“I rather play games than to exercise," said Maria Diaz, NERF Energy game kit recipient. “I’m going to exercise so I can get points,” Diaz said.

The donation was part of the 10,000 NERF Energy game kits donated to schools and community organizations across the country, in a national initiative to encourage young people to become more active.

“It doesn’t seem like it, but when there is discipline, children focus more,” said Maria Lerigeth, grandmother of two of the children who received NERF Energy game kits. “Now, they will have a discipline to workout in order to play video games, they will be motivated to stay active,” Lerigeth said.

“I wish I had that when I was a kid,” Sockers player Chris Toth said. “It beats playing Xbox. I think it’s incredible how they can go and earn these points and it opens up a [video] game for them."

San Diego is one of the first cities across the country to receive the exergaming kits.

“It is a new concept, but we have seen proven results that exergaming increases the physical activity in kids,” Knight said. “The more they exercise throughout the day the more [video] game time they receive.

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