Fitness Blogger Calls For Obesity Warning Labels on Video Games

A North Carolina fitness blog has called for obesity warning labels to be placed on video game packaging.

In a review of Nintendo’s Wii Fit, Winston-Salem Fitness writes:

Overall, I give Nintendo credit for trying to make a game that tries to get people to be more active, which is more than can be said for other video game manufacturers. However, this will not do anything in terms of chipping away at the American obesity problem.


In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the video game industry needs to follow the route of the tobacco and alcohol manufacturers, and state that excessive use of their product could lead to inactivity and obesity, rather than try to make a half-hearted effort at increasing American activity levels…

By our count, this is the second call this year for warning labels on video games. In January Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) proposed in Congress that games rated T and higher carry warnings linking violent games to aggressive behavior.

Obesity warning labels have previously been advocated in some quarters for consumables such as soda and fast food.

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  1. Adamas Draconis says:

    A woman after my heart, as well as my spleen

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  2. Alareth says:

    Making mental notes and spending time commenting on blogs could contribute to obesity.  There should be a warning label.



    * I’m sorry … I couldn’t help myself.  I’ll go back to my corner now.  After I put a warning label on it.

  3. whatthegeek says:

    Oh, I definitely agree with you there. Before citing a source, two things need to be considered.

    1. The reputation of the source.

    2. The fact or opinion presented by the source that is being cited.


    In this particular case, the source is small, and the opinion outlandish, and not based in fact, therefore, the article shouldn’t have been posted. If, let’s say, the New York Times had suggested that obesity warnings needed to be put on video games, then sure, GP should absolutely write about it. If the small site in question had been able to back up their opinion with statistical data, and other factual information, then sure, GP should post about it. As it stands, it was an opinion born of ignorance, and not backed up properly. The only weight their statements have comes from the fact that GP wrote about it.

  4. JDKJ says:

    That you may have been leading an anti-GP charge was my concern (although, it wasn’t really a concern with respect to GP and any negative effect on them, more so that you had some sort of undisclosed agenda). But it’s all grit ‘n’ gravy now. 

    I will say that I’m not entirely convinced of the strength of the correlation, if any, between the number of readers and a cited source’s reliability. Some of the most notorious cases of reporters making shit up outta thin air has occurred at some of the more widely-read and "prestigious" newspapers. Just because a publication is small-time doesn’t mean they aren’t trust-worthy. Or, put somewhat differently, are any less trust-worthy than the major league players.  

  5. whatthegeek says:

    That’s very true, and, frankly, I, personally, will be referencing my mental note in the future. See, in the past when I came to GP, I took for granted that the writing staff was exercising due dillegence when researching the sources for their articles. Given the quality of the site, I had no reason to think otherwise. Today, I followed the link in this article to the fitness blog in question, and, thanks to a spiffy firefox plugin that shows me the google page rank, and alexa rank of every site I go to, I noticed that the blog had an alexa rank of over 3 million. Fearing a malfunction in the plugin, I went to to double check the number, and sure enough, the numbers matched up. For those not in the know, put simply, Alexa keeps track of who’s going where on the internet. A site w/ a 3 mil rank generally doesn’t get more than a handful of hits a day. The fact that GP cited a small time source like that shocked me. From here on in, I’ll be double checking any source from a GP article that I don’t immediately recognize. That’s my personal opinion on the matter. I’m not here to twist anyone’s arm about it, or lead a massive anti-GP charge. I’m a huge fan of GP, but this particular article reminded me not to blindly trust ANY news source, and to always seek additional facts on my own.

  6. JDKJ says:

    While "don’t let them off the hook" is ambiguous, it’s difficult for me to understand the phrase as not urging some sort of affirmative action. Even taking a mental note of something suggests that the note is being taken so it can be recalled for use of some sort at a later date. Just sayin’.

  7. Alyric says:

    I grew up in a very religious family. My father was a preacher. I was raised a Christian – still am.

    I wasn’t attacking the religion, and I’m sorry if you interpreted it that way. I certainly don’t ignore the positive aspects of the Bible, but that doesn’t change the fact that, yes, there is some pretty fucked up stuff in there.

  8. whatthegeek says:

    I actually did – scroll up to the bible w/ the warning label – go a few more comments up from that, and you’ll see me make much the same point that I’m making here, except much shorter.

    "I’d like to point out that the fitness blog in question here has an alexa rank of over 3 million, meaning that they likely get less than 20 hits per day…. or at least they did until Game Politics sent a bunch of angry gamers their way. My point? Why was anyone even taking this site seriously?"

  9. JDKJ says:

    Not to side-step the point, but since you made an appearance, I’d pose to you personally the question I posed more generally above: If you felt compelled to urge others to voice criticism of GP to GP, what took you so long to voice your own criticsm here?   

  10. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Seriously, there’s some fucked up stuff in there.

    Nothing worse than what you can read about/see in real life.

    Seriously, people love to talk about all the "vile" stuff that happens in the Bible, but completely ignore the morals and lessons to be learned from many of them.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  11. whatthegeek says:

    look up – a couple posts above the bible.


    And what I said was the community shouldn’t let them off the hook for posting the ramblings of some no name fitness blog, not that people should make anything known. Whether it be in the form of a comment on GP, or just a mental note in your own mind, don’t let them off the hook.

  12. whatthegeek says:

    Alright, I see all the chatter in the shoutbox, and I want to take a minute here to make a couple of things clear.

    1. As you may have guessed by my name, I wrote the above mentioned article.

    2. I don’t hate GP – far from it. They’re one of the most respectable gaming sites out there. Generally speaking, they stick to a very high level of journalistic integrity. That’s why I wrote what I did – if a trusted, respectable site like GP latches on to the ramblings of some fitness blog that no one reads, the opinions expressed on that fitness blog now have weight in the gaming community. Anyone on the internet can start a blog, but not everyone is credible, or well informed. It’s journalistically irresponsible to present the ramblings of some no name fitness blog as having some sort of social merrit. Law makers aren’t calling for obesity warnings, senators aren’t calling for obesity warnings, consumer watch dog groups aren’t calling for obesity warnings, and neither are the FDA or the FTC. The only one calling for obesity warnings is a small time blog which, before today, likely had 20 or less daily visits. Why give them merrit? Why present their words to the gaming community in a light that implies they hold substance? This story just should not have been run, simple as that.

  13. JDKJ says:

    Here’s the part I don’t entirely understand. He urges the community to make know to GP – I assume in the form of posting comments to the article – that . . . whatever (what they should make known matters not the point I make). But then, when I read through, I can’t find a comment from him. If you’re gonna urge people on, shouldn’t you be leading the charge? 

  14. Longjocks says:

    All modern conveniences make our lives easier and less active. You used to have to get up to change a TV channel or answer the phone, for example. Health problems regarding weight and lack of exercise these days often seem to come from a lot of smaller things adding up to a greater whole.

    Meanwhile our cities get more populated and busy, making it more risky for a family to go out for a ride together. Using my home city for example, family-oriented businesses, such as indoor sporting venues, either go out of business (or at least offer less services) or become too expensive to frequent for most. No money goes into things that families can use, like bike trails and such.

    It looks like we all agree that sitting idle is the problem, not what we are doing while sitting idle. In regard to Winston-Salem Fitness’ comments of comparrison to tobacco and alcohol they imply a direct cause which we all know is ridiculous. The idea of moderation is better linked to supervision (of children) and addiction, two entirely different topics. They have completely missed the important points… which is always the case with gaming critics.

  15. Alyric says:

    Judges 19:22-30

    He also offers them his daughter. Nice guy. Note that it closely echoes a similar incident that happened to Lot in Sodom, right before Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed (Genesis 19:4-11), though that one turned out slightly better.

    Until later when Lot’s daughters got him drunk and slept with him. Seriously, there’s some fucked up stuff in there.

  16. Alyric says:

    Honestly, while he could have made his points with a great deal less hostility, I have to agree with some of what he said.

  17. londinio says:

    It really comes down to taking responsibility for your own actions. Isn’t North carolina one of the fattest states in the country? Something tells me videogames didn’t do that.

  18. Cecil475 says:

    Just what the Wii needs right? Another warning lable.

     – Warren

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  19. Coach says:

    This person must work at the Department of Redundancy Department.  By definition, anything that has you repeatedly sitting for extended periods of time can cause obesity if you eat too much.  Thank you Captain Obvious.  Next we’ll need warning labels on all rocks warning they can hurt if thrown.  That’s a stellar use of millions of dollars.  Sounds like they need warning labels for potential bloggers that read "Blogging may make you appear to be an idiot." 

  20. PHX Corp says:

    Just to let you know that is one person’s opinion, It dosen’t mean they are going to act on it

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  21. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    What exactly would this warning label do other than fuck with the cover art? I mean unless you’re completely lacking in common sense you should already realize that excessive anything is bad for you, and that constant sedentary activities can contribute to poor health.

    For that matter, what does this person consider to be excessive?

  22. Wormdundee says:

    I’m not sure why GP is reporting on this, this is a tiny blog with pretty much no users, it doesn’t really seem worth it to even talk about them.

    But heh, let’s put warning labels on books shall we? 

  23. Shahab says:

    The bible really is full of horrible, violent stories. I remember one I read that was about some Isrealite who went out to get back his missing concubine and stopped in a town to spend the night. He was going to sleep in the square but a townsman saw him and said it wasn’t safe, that he should come stay at his house. So he consented and went to stay with the townsman with his wife and concubine. Well, that night the men of the town came and banged on the door, demanding to rape the man. (thats right, the dude). The nice townsman told them not to act like that and to please leave them alone but they were insistent, so the man who had come into town took his concubine and threw her out to the men and slammed the door behind her. The men raped her to death. In the morning the traveler took his dead concubine, went home, carved her into 13 pieces and sent one to each of the 13 tribes of Isreal with a note saying something like, “Oh, look what has become of us, Isrealites” or somesuch.

    I told that story to my old Chem teacher who was also a youth pastor. He didn’t believe me when I told him it was a bible story, I had to bring in my mom’s bible and show him.

  24. Father Time says:

    "In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the video game industry needs to follow the route of the tobacco and alcohol manufacturers, and state that excessive use of their product could lead to inactivity and obesity"

    I don’t know about anyone else but I sweat when I play a really intense game, especially those light gun ones at an arcade.

    Anyway why don’t we put those labels onto couchs chairs and beds while we’re at it? Or any sort of food.

    I mean hell people are stupid and don’t know that lounging around being inactive or eating all day might make you fatter, we have to remind them about it. </sarcasm>


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  25. Kharne says:

    Out of idle curosity. Oh wait, wait… *idle* curosity probably adds onto the obesity problem too, So lets use a healty alternative.

    Out of active curosity, if we were to put up said label, what, exactly is it going to do? I mean, has anyone checked smoking lately?  The carton is nearly 100% warning label these days, and people still light up. How is this going to be different? Pixie magic? Voodoo? What? What magical power is this label going to use to make people suddenly give a shit about stuff they already know?

  26. Teletheus says:

     You guys are missing the REALLY obvious one.  If I may:

    In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the exercise industry needs to follow the route of the tobacco and alcohol manufacturers, and state that excessive use of their services could lead to an inability to reason and think critically, rather than try to make a half-hearted effort at articulating a faulty idea.

  27. Philippe says:

    Pardon me for stating the obvious, but shouldn’t they put an obesity warning on FOOD instead?

    They don’t put suicide hotlines on Leonard Cohen albums – they put them on bridges.

  28. Master Taffer says:

    Excessive running may cause side effects like muscle fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle cramps and erectile dysfunction.  Consult your doctor before running.

  29. Zerodash says:

    If you don’t know that sitting and playing videogames isn’t going to help you control weight, then you deserve to die of a heart attack. 

    What is this world coming to when everything needs to have a warning label?  How about a warning sign at the enterance to a grocery store: "Warning: eating food has been linked to weight gain and increased production of fecal matter."

    Where do you draw the line?

  30. Alyric says:

    The last time I checked, the only thing responsible for obesity was "excessive use" of food.

    Excessive, of course, defined as more than you need for your level of physical activity. If you’re an Olympic athlete, you probably eat a lot. If you’re a Madden athlete, you should probably cut back on the calories a bit.

  31. whatthegeek says:

    I’d like to point out that the fitness blog in question here has an alexa rank of over 3 million, meaning that they likely get less than 20 hits per day…. or at least they did until Game Politics sent a bunch of angry gamers their way. My point? Why was anyone even taking this site seriously?

  32. Jyrrah says:

    Why settle for video games? If you’re going to put warning labels on something at least hit the source. I want to see warning labels on food stating that excessive use can lead to obesity.

  33. Cerabret100 says:

    I would think sitting down playing video games and doing nothing else for extended periods of time could, potentially causing you to become lazy and overweight would be a big part of something called common sense

  34. NovaBlack says:

    In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the literature industry needs to follow the route of the tobacco and alcohol manufacturers, and state that excessive use of their product could lead to inactivity and obesity, rather than try to make no effort whatsoever at increasing American activity levels…

  35. Daria_C says:

    How about this for a headline…

    Extremely encensed nerdgirl calls for ban on fitness blogging.

  36. Master Taffer says:

    While we’re at it, let’s put an obesity warning label on my couch, computer, bed, television and my comic books.

    Oh, and this sandwich sitting infront of me.

  37. nightwng2000 says:

    Let that blogger take a 45 pound carryon (max weight allowed) plus a typical laptop in it’s case and go to Charlotte International Airport.  Have them walk from Terminal E to Terminal C, not taking either the carts or moving sidewalks (as they both cause obesity).  And make sure the carryon has no wheels because they encourage obesity too.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  38. JustChris says:

    We should just have a generic label on everything that says "Doing/using too much of this product may interfere with a good lifestyle".


  39. cppcrusader says:

    Sitting around doing nothing and only reading that blog could make you obese.  Time for a warning label.

  40. JustChris says:

    In my state, I have never seen obesity warning labels in soda and junk food. I wonder in what "quarters" do they enforce those warnings as GP mentioned.


  41. Vinzent says:

    Can we get warning lables on fitness gyms, equipment, sports shoes, and mandatory disclaimers from fitness coaches "Warning: Use of this product may result in severe muscle and joint injury, paralysis, or death."

  42. Conster says:

    There are no calories, alcohol or nicotin in games. There’s nothing in games that makes you obese. Plus, if you put a label on video games, you’d have to put one on TVs and DVDs as well.

  43. Deamian says:

    "the video game industry needs to follow the route of the tobacco and alcohol manufacturers[…]"

    I dind’t know video games contained tobaccos and alcohol… People don’t get fat and inactive because of video-games, they get fat and inactive because they choose to sit down instead of moving around.


  44. Nitherean says:

    I pay my $44 bucks to have 3 months of World of Warcraft.  Now if this guy will pay my gym the $34/month, then I’ll go exercise.  I would need a trainer, because, I maybe intelligent and educated, but that’s because I studied in college, not hung out at the sports and gym all day long.

    Sure, I can go for a walk, and do all the other, silly exercises.  But there’s a difference between doing something the hard way, and doing it efficiently.  I can exercise the hard way, but do not know the efficient way.

    Would I like a killer body for my age?  Hellyah!  Would I like all the hot items for my three toons from Ulduar 25, and be elite in the PvP that Blizzard has?  Hellyah!  I just suck at both.  At least in WoW, everyone can agree, they know about as much of the whole game (status, game play, history, walking wowhead encylopedia), as I do.

  45. Nitherean says:

    "Warning: This esculator has been design to make you fat.  Please use the stairs inconviently located, well out of the way of your destination."

    Your typical, modern, USA, mall, is full of esculators and elevators, but very few, if any, stragetically placed, common, every-day…..stairs.  The largest mall closest to me, has only one set of stairs that people typically use (and that’s to the food court!).

    While computer games maybe a contributing factor, they are not the sole reason.  And that is the problem with most blogs on the web: keeping facts straight and being honest.  Game Politics screws up every once in a while, and does try to correct the issues.


  46. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    Here’s another little tidbit…My friend is not on Welfare lets start right there…She does not have a steady job, She does not have a car and thus walks -everywhere-, Unless we actively bring her food she does not eat because she can’t afford it…and guess what She’s not a small woman…why? Because some of us are genetically predisposed to being larger. Maybe some of those women you’ve seen are just that?

  47. Baruch_S says:

    If you bargain-hunt correctly at the grocery store, you can easily make dinner for less than you’d end up spending at a fast food restaurant anyway. Fast food is cheap, but it’s generally not cheaper than making it yourself. It’s a whole lot more convenient, though, and that’s a big part of the appeal.

  48. Baruch_S says:

    They’re probably overweight because they eat garbage. Junk food is pretty cheap, and fast food is even cheaper. Both contain copious amounts of calories but cost next to nothing, and you don’t have to do anything to them before you eat them. They’re perenial favorites of the lazy.

  49. gamegod25 says:

    Yeah while were at it lets put it on all books as well. *roll*

    Does this guy honestly think putting on a warning label would make ANY impact at all? Because I can guarantee that it wouldn’t.

  50. prh99 says:

    The level idiocy scarcely bears commenting on, except to point it out and ask the obvious. What about all the other sedentary activities in our lives, label them as well?

  51. TBoneTony says:

    It is sad that a Fitness Blogger tries to attack Videogames without realizing that there are other more harmful issues about Obesity.

    Like only focusing on fat people who play Videogames totally ignores all the other fat people who don’t play videogames.


  52. Adrian Lopez says:

    Yeah. Let’s put them not just on chairs and video games, but also on big-screen TVs, TV remotes, cars, computers, corded phones, textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.

  53. M. Carusi says:

    Andrew’s comment sums it up.  Something like this would be a real slippery slope, since you could find vague, generic connections between obesity and any activity in the world short of marathon running.  Why are there warning labels on cigarette packaging?  Because there’s a genuine health risk when it comes to cigarette smoking.  The act of playing video games doesn’t inherently make you obese.

    M. Carusi
    Capitol Gaming

  54. Andrew Eisen says:

    While I have no interest in Wii Fit and games of its ilk, I would not call such efforts "half-hearted."

    Anyway, while we’re at it, let’s put obesity warning labels on chairs too.  After all, "excessive use of their product could lead to inactivity and obesity."


    Andrew Eisen

  55. mdo7 says:


    Oh let’s not forget telephone, cell phone, internet, and other thing that we use in everyday stuff.  you’re right about the bed, I get more fatter everyday when I lay down on the bed. 

  56. 1AgainstTheWorld says:

    Don’t forget to add the board itself to the list.  Everyone who sits around monitoring it will be at increased risk for obesity.

  57. LujanD says:

    I totally agree with this!

    Can we also have obesity labels on books, cars, beds, chairs, most jobs, educational facilities, libraries, chess…

    Whew, this list is getting pretty big… perhaps we should create a board to monitor and manage the situation too, with a big fat paycheck and perks to boot?

  58. Krono says:

    It looks like comments there go into a moderation queue. If they go out on fragile limbs as thin and rotted this one on a regular basis, they probably need it.


  59. chadachada321 says:

    Hey, don’t just reply here, reply to the article itself. It has a comment section. *first post woohoo*

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  60. Sai says:

     God forbid people have different hobbies from you, gym jockey.

    I say the videos and programs of fitness gurus need to come with the label: "WARNING: May turn you into an elitist douche"

  61. chadachada321 says:

    My thoughts exactly. If you’re wealthy enough to purchase obscene amounts of food and eat it until you can barely walk, I say go for it. It’s your life, not mine.

    However, if you weigh 200 lbs or more you shouldn’t be in a welfare line or the like (which I have seen before. Several very large women with a few kids in line for welfare in Pontiac, it was sickening to see where some of my taxdollars are going).

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  62. TK n Happy Ness says:

    Nobody’s forcing you to smoke, drink, eat fast food, or anything else at gunpoint. You do that yourself. God, people can’t even live their lives they want without some people bitching and moaning.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  63. sirdarkat says:

    I’m willing to agree to this if the bloggers and everyone that enjoys said above blog is willing to have a warning tattoo on their face saying Warning Stupidity Levels Increasing as Proximity Decreases.

  64. itsnotmyfault says:

     I don’t know if this blogger realizes this, but there’s a difference between something that will cause harm no matter its usage (tobacco) and something that may only cause harm based upon a variety of contributing factors (video games).  Why don’t we just place an obesity warning label on all sedentary activities?

  65. Krono says:

    "In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the video game industry needs to… state that excessive use of their product could lead to inactivity and obesity,"

    The same could be said of the public library, movie theaters, television shows, internet capable computers, and homework. Where is your call for warning labels on them?


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