Obesity experts today slammed Nintendo after its Wii Fit game told a 10-year-old girl she was fat. They fear the game could damage children's body image and called on the company to warn parents it is not suitable for their offspring.
A father spoke of the embarrassment his stepdaughter faced when she played the fitness game and was labelled fat.
'She is a perfectly healthy, 4ft 9in tall 10-year-old who swims, dances and weighs only six stone,' said the father, who did not want to be named for fear of embarrassing the girl further.'
She is solidly built but not fat. She was devastated to be called fat and we had to work hard to convince her she isn't.'
The game costs £69 and sold out very quickly when it recently went on sale. The player enters their height & the game uses BMI to calculate their level of obesity, placing them in categories such as 'underweight' and 'fat'.
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum called for children to be banned from playing the game, claiming the BMI measurement was misleading.'I'm absolutely aghast that children are being told they are fat,' he said. 'BMI is far from perfect but with children it simply should not be used. A child's BMI can change every month and it is perfectly possible for a child to be stocky, yet still very fit. I would be very concerned if children were using this game and I believe it should carry a warning for parents.'
Nintendo said it would not be placing a warning on the game.
I was a larger child myself and although I am now content to be a plus size woman that was not always the case. Many of my self esteem issues were caused by the way my weight was dealt with as a child - constant diets, comments from family members etc. The poor youngsters of today face a future of self doubt if everyone is to be judged purely by their BMI.