According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every three children in the United States is overweight.Humana, the health and supplemental benefits company, has an interesting challenge underway to help combat that horrible statistic. It’s called The American Horsepower Challenge, which is a part of the Humana Games 4 Health.
Here’s a nice background video on the event, including interviews with participants:
The challenge brings together 2,000 fifth and sixth graders and 20 members of Congress to race across the country. Well, not literally. What makes the challenge interesting is that it’s a cyber race, in which the participants power a cartoon horse avatar by taking real steps monitored by a pedometer.
“We have an explosion of obesity, as far as Americans are concerned,” says Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). “There is more time on videos, there is more time being schlepped to school, there are more opportunities for people to avoid simple common sense activities that make a difference. This is what is so great about the challenge is that it engages young Americans to do something that young Americans of a generation or two ago did.”
The American Horsepower Challenge is a part of a trend known as “exergaming” that incorporates exercise or some form of movement into video games. The most famous example of this is the popular video game platform Wii.
The brilliance in exergaming is that it makes fitness fun and challenging. That’s the perfect combination. especially if you’re at all competitive.