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Fitness Expert Defends Wii Criticism

| 24 Feb 2009 20:30
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Michael Torchia, the health and fitness expert who hinted at using legal action against Nintendo over the Wii Fit, says he doesn't have a problem with the unit itself but stands by his criticism of the way it's been marketed as a fitness tool.

Earlier in February the fitness guru threatened a lawsuit against Nintendo based on the company's promotion of Wii Fit as "a replacement for sensible exercise and sports activities." Torchia wanted distribution of Wii Fit halted until Nintendo began including warnings about the possibility of injuries as a result of its improper use and stopped "contributing to the epidemic of obesity" by promoting the balance board as a fitness tool rather than as an entertainment device. "Young and old are putting away their gym clothes and shying away from going outdoors to play sports, because [of] the addictive appeal to the Wii game products," he said.

In a new statement, Torchia stood by his criticism but says he is merely part of the class action lawsuit being put together against Nintendo, adding that he hopes changes are made to the game so legal action can be avoided. Among the specific changes he's seeking are updates to the owner's manual to include proper playing and breathing techniques, the imposition of time limits on Wii Fit gameplay, updates to balance board sensors that will help users avoid overexertion and the halt of marketing efforts that present Wii Fit as a fitness tool rather than a game.

Torchia has offered his assistance to Nintendo in improving the product, saying that he understands the Wii is a "fun tool with numerous social and physical benefits" but adding that without proper instruction the units can do far more harm than good. Thus far he has had no response from the company and is therefore continuing to provide advice directly to the people by way of his website, Operation Fitness, and his Shape Up America radio show.

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