Reports have already surfaced about Wii Fit calling a young girl fat and the National Obesity Forum calling for children to stay away from Nintendo’s questionably heath-minded exercise tool. No matter - we get that Wii Fit’s not there to replace actual fitness and that despite the curious inclusion of the Body Mass Index (calculating a percentage based on height and weight, thus giving a readout of how “healthy” you are) we know Wii Fit’s primary goal is to promote exercise and health.
Yet, we still wonder how accurate a robotic weight scale could be. And because we love asserting our human brain dominance over a cold calculating machine, we nabbed Sally Coucouvanis, a certified yoga instructor for children with special needs to help us assess whether Nintendo’s Wii game was true to the yogi lifestyle.
Sally chooses her Mii and steps on the Balance Board for the initial weigh in Based on her height and age, her BMI calculates to 23.73 or Normal. After some initial balance tests, the game tells Sally her Wii Fit age is 60 years old.
GamesRadar: Do you think these beginning calculations are anything to take seriously for yoga? How about for children?
Sally: Yoga is for everybody - you do not have to be “fit” to do it. Although now, it is very popular to have a faster, more flowing yoga at gyms. And some people do it now to lose weight, but that is not the intention. I think the weigh in and BMI might be good for some, but others might get discouraged. I did like knowing I was placed in the “healthy” category.
It’s not important at all for kids - a kid is supposed to be more free flow, like run around, etc. I don’t think they’d even be able to stand on that [Balance Board] the whole time, but age could make a difference.
GR: The game just said your Wii Fit age is 60, which is clearly off from your actual age. It suggests you’re weaker than you actually are. Any truth in that?
Sally: It seemed “right on” for me, but that wouldn’t be good. I do feel it didn’t give accuracy for being a disciplined yogi [person who practices yoga] versus a person who never did it.
GR: How does the balance board feel?
Sally: A bit weird. In Yoga, you’re grounded on a mat barefoot – close to the Earth and not on a thing you stand on. If you were new to it, then it might not seem so weird.
Sally stands still while the Board calibrates her center of balance.
GR: Wii Fit says your center of balance is towards the back right with more weight on your heels. Seems like the game is calling out your posture. What’s up with that?
Sally: I thought my posture was fine. I think it’s interesting the game doesn’t think I do. When I lean forward to correct it, it feels like I’m tipping over.