May 16th, 2008, 20:24 Posted By: Shrygue
via Computer and Video Games
Nintendo has apologised to those offended by Wii Fit after the software came under fire for dubbing children "fat".
Update: Nintendo has issued CVG its full statement regarding Wii Fit complaints: ""Nintendo would like to apologise to any customers offended by the in-game terminology used to classify a player's current BMI status, as part of the BMI measurement system integrated into Wii Fit.
"The BMI classifications featured within Wii Fit are universal, standard measurements widely used within the medical and fitness profession. We have used BMI and its associated terminology as the in-game measurement in Wii Fit as it is a widely recognised indicator of a healthy weight range since it measures a player's weight, scaled to their height.
"As such it is the best available generic measurement that can assess a
player's progress whilst using Wii Fit. The different classifications applied in Wii Fit are those used officially with BMI.
"As stated in the Wii Fit manual, BMI is essentially a measure of body fat, based on an adult height and weight. Wii Fit is still capable of measuring the BMI for people aged between 2 and 20 BUT the resulting figures may not be entirely accurate for younger age groups due to varying levels of development.
"The BMI results will differ depending on an individual's stage of development. People with more muscle mass than normal will also have a higher BMI rating due to the heavy weight of muscle tissue, so the resulting figures should be used for reference purposes only.
"We appreciate that some players might want to keep their in-game assessment details private. Users playing Wii Fit have the option to hide their on screen weight so it will not be seen when playing in a group environment. In addition, if users prefer to play Wii Fit in a group environment, but do not wish their BMI rating to be viewed, they
can choose to play the Wii Fit activities as a GUEST without having to participate in the weighing and BMI measuring process."Update Ends.
The game uses the BMI system (Body Mass Index) to determine the physical condition of users, but Tam Fry, a spokesperson from National Obesity Forum says that it's inaccurate for children, and should not be used.
"I'm absolutely aghast that children are being told they are fat," Fry told Daily Mail, after a father reported the trauma of his 10-year-old stepdaughter, who the software labelled as "fat".
"BMI is far from perfect but with children it simply should not be used," he added. "A child's BMI can change every month and it is perfectly possible for a child to be stocky, yet still very fit."
The kafuffle started when one father told of his "devastated" 10-year-old stepdaughter, who the game labelled fat, despite apparently being "perfectly healthy". "She is solidly built but not fat.," said the anonymous parent.
Fry called upon Nintendo to include warnings with the software. "I would be very concerned if children were using this game and I believe it should carry a warning for parents."
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