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DDR 'Health Happens in Schools'
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News Reporter
Sun Feb 10 2013, 12:33PM
News Reporter

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Joined: Mon Mar 01 2010, 08:19PM
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During an event designed to get kids moving in schools held at Tehipite Middle School, The California Endowment and Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced a joint effort to reduce childhood obesity and increase students' access to fun physical activities by bringing KONAMI's new DanceDanceRevolution (DDR) Classroom Edition to Fresno Unified School District. DDR Classroom Edition is the latest iteration of the wildly popular dance game that has shown to encourage physical activity among adults and children.

DDR Classroom Edition is an interactive video game that combines physical activity with energetic music and visuals, also known as an exergame. The game and associated hardware technology, which was developed by Performance Designed Products, enables up to 48 students to participate simultaneously, using wireless mat controllers that feature a smart card reader that tracks each student's individual progress. While students move to the beat, teachers receive vital information about their students' health including steps, body mass index (BMI) and caloric burn rate. The project was funded by a grant from The California Endowment.

The KONAMI partnership is part of The California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities plan- a ten-year, comprehensive community initiative that is creating a revolution in the way Californians think about and make health happen in their communities. In 14 places across California, including Fresno, residents are proving that they have the power to transform the health of their neighborhoods and schools.

Citing data that shows only one in three California students scored in the "health zone" on California's most recent FitnessGram physical fitness test and fewer than half of all school districts provide the amount of physical education required by state law, the Endowment's Building Healthy Communities sites are bringing partners together to create more opportunities for students to be active at school.

Effective today, all eight middle schools in the Fresno Unified School District will receive DDR Classroom Edition. The participating schools, with assistance from KONAMI and The California Endowment, will use the game to track its impact on students' health, well-being and exercise habits.

"KONAMI recognizes the impacts of childhood inactivity and the need to keep children engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle," said Clara Baum, senior director of strategic marketing and partnerships, KONAMI. "By partnering with The California Endowment to bring DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition into Fresno schools, we're taking a progressive approach to keep kids in California up and moving and providing educators with new tools to make getting kids hearts pumping fun."

"When students are healthy, academic achievement improves, schools perform better overall, and students live happier and more complete lives," said Kathlyn Mead, executive vice president and chief operating officer for The California Endowment. "We would like to see all children pass all aspects of the state's most physical fitness test. Exercise is a key component to overall wellness and as such it is crucial that we provide access to innovative programs such as DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition. We are delighted that the Fresno Unified School District is taking up this new opportunity and looking forward to engaging students in play that benefits their health."

"As a district we are always looking for ways to get our students to exercise. This is a fun way to accomplish that and the students love it. We are so appreciative to The California Endowment for partnering with us in this project to support the health of our young people," said Superintendent Michael Hanson.

The partnership builds on KONAMI's deep expertise in developing fun and innovative gaming experiences that encourage children to be active. Studies indicate "exergaming," which refers to video games such as DDR Classroom Edition that are also a form of exercise, have the potential to reduce the growing obesity epidemic among children and adults. It is recognized by leading researchers, schools, and doctors as an innovative and fun solution to promoting a healthy lifestyle and fighting childhood obesity. DDR Classroom Edition launches with support from key partners, including the American Diabetes Association and Sony Music, who provides the soundtrack that features chart-topping artists of today and hits from yesterday.

About The California Endowment
The California Endowment is a private, statewide health foundation, which was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The Endowment's homepage at website.
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