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May 27, 2008 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-05-27

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Getting Wii fit

A dangerous solution

or most of my childhood
I was a big kid. About the
time I turned 16 I decided
I didn't much
enjoy being
overweight any-
more. So I did "
what any teen-
ager who want-
ed to shed some
pounds would
do: I joined TOM
Weight Watch- MICHNIACKI
ers. Without a
doubt, it was
uncomfortable being the only
teenage male among menopausal
women. But if I was an overweight
teen nowadays, I would have a
new, less socially awkward way
to lose some weight: the Nintendo
Wii, "Wii Sports", and the compa-
ny's latest release, "Wii Fit," which
came out last week.
Studies show that child-
hood obesity is on the rise. The
increase is likely due to the inac-
tive lifestyle and bad eating habits
exhibited by many kids. Oh, how
I fondly remember lying on my
couch, watching "The Fresh Prince
of Bel-Air" and eating McDonald's
double cheeseburgers. Those were
undoubtedly good times, but those
greasy patties of goodness greatly
increased my risk of suffering
from serious health problems like
coronary heart disease and Type 2
diabetes. Being overweight is dan-
gerous, which is why any effort to
decreasethe numberofoverweight
children in this country should be
That's where the Wii and games
like "Wii Sports" and "Wii Fit"
come in. "Wii Sports" involves
moving the video game controller
to simulate the movements used
in real sports. For example, to play
the tennis portion of the game,
players must move their controller
just like they are swinging a racket
in a real tennis game.
The new "Wii Fit" can do some
pretty sweet things. It can keep
track of your body mass index and
record your improvement in four
types of physical activity: yoga
poses, muscle workouts, aerobic
exercise and balance games. If
I could only go back in time and
watch my overweight self attempt
to do the "King of the Dance"
- which Nintendo maintains is
indeed a real yoga pose. Sweat-
pants with grease stains plus Zen
equals sex appeal.
But are the Wii and its more
physically focused games really
going to decrease the number of

overweight kids? Not likely.
Nintendo's marketing of its
game system emphasizes the Wii's
ability to get kids off the couch
and moving. But new research
may refute the company's claims
that it will save humanity from
the plight of childhood obesity. A
study in the British Medical Jour-
nal showed that someone playing
"Wii Sports" only burns about 60
more calories an hour than some-
one who is playing a traditional
sedentary video game.
And the new "Wii Fit" game
might burn more calories than
that, but it's no substitute for play-
ing real sports, attending Weight
Watchers meetings and mak-
ing real lifestyle changes. If kids
truly want to lose a large amount
of weight, they'll have to do more
than play the Wii. A healthy diet
and working out a few times a
week can't be replaced by a con-
troller and a joystick.
The Wii may
not be enough
to avoid Weight
While Nintendo's "Wii Fit"
won't decrease childhood obesity
substantially, it may make kids
more knowledgeable about health
and fitness. Games like "Wii
Sports" may be the impetus to get
kids to join real tennis leagues or
start playing baseball, which is
a great thing because the devel-
opment of healthy habits during
adolescence is critical to having
a healthy adulthood. So the Wii
may actually be doing some good,
but no parent or youngster should
expect a miracle.
It took a lot of hard work to
lose weight when I was 16, and it
doesn't look like dropping some
pounds will get any easier because
of the Wii. But at least with the
help of Nintendo's yoga, you'll
have the new-found, name-brand
spiritual peace needed to make it
though all those awkward conver-
sations at Weight Watchers about
dressing for your body type and
Oprah's latest diet.
Tom Michniacki can be
reached at tmich@umich.edu.

conomic conditions in the
United States have left both
college students and full-
time employ-
ees frustrated
and desperatej
when it comes a
to money mat-
ters. If you're
for housing, -r
personal bills SHAKIRA
and school SMILER
expenses with
the income
from a part-time job is impossible.
One controversial solution for
broke college women is egg dona-
I'll be the first to admit that
desperate times call for desperate
measures - I, too, have seriously
considered being an egg donor.
We see advertisements for it all
around campus, even on the Stu-
dent Employment website. In fact,
there is a new reproductive assis-
tance clinic that opened recently
in Ann Arbor known as The Stork
According to their website,
donors can make anywhere from
$5,500 to $7,000 for simply donat-
ing a few eggs to an infertile cou-
ple. Students are even able to name
their own price if they have an
advanced degree or a high IQ. The
only requirements for applicants
are that you be between the ages of
19 and 33, drug-free, healthy, and
HIV/hepatitis negative. The
idea of being an egg donor is -
pretty tempting, especially to
students who are financially
If selected, the process
doesn't sound too bad either.
A donor goes through about
a three-and-a-half-week pro-
cess consisting of daily fertil-
ity shots, regular bloodtests
and ultrasound scans. When
it is time to remove the eggs,
a doctor sedates the donor,
inserts a needle into the ova-
ries and removes the eggs via
a suctioning vacuum.
The procedure takes only
minutes, and while there may
be some slight discomfort
like cramping aftward, on
the whole the process doesn't
sound toobad-Whywouldn't
a woman sinking deeply in
debt jump at the chance to
get paid $5,500 to do it? Egg
donation seems like the best
deal since the Victoria's Secret
Semi-Annual sale.
And it's addicting. Repeat

donors earn a pay increase of
$1,000 or more, and some women
have been known to donate eggs
more than ten times.
More importantly, being an egg
donor allows you to help a couple
unable to produce their own chil-
dren make their dreams of having
a family come true. Many women
who are born with an inability to
conceive a child desperately seek
out donors to aid them in the pro-
cess of giving birth to a child. Who
wouldn't be honored to say they
were partly responsible for grant-
ing someone's ultimate wish in
Being an egg donor appears to
be afastand rewardingwayto earn
money, and can be beneficial to all
parties involved. But if something
sounds too good tobe true, it prob-
ably is. The potential health risks
that aren't mentioned may cost you
way more than $5,500 bucks in the
long run.
For instance, donating eggs
increases your risk of develop-
ing ovarian cancer, and cysts may
develop on ovaries, resulting in
fluid build up. According to the
New York Times, there have been
reports of deaths in the United
States and Britain due to donation-
related complications.
Because donors are anony-
mous and many facilities do a poor
job of keeping records, treating
medical conditions in children,
inherited from egg donors, is a dif-

ficult. There hasn't really been any
adequate follow-up and research
with donors to determine long
term health impacts, and being an
egg donor may mean you become
infertile yourself.
Being an egg donor can mean
helping someone give life to their
own family, but for the most part
it means getting cut a fat check to
help make ends meet. Several col-
Egg donation is
quick money, but
at what cost?
lege students rush to sign up as a
donor because it seems to be easy
money without truly considering
how' it could potentially destroy
their lives. Although it may help
you make a few thousand dollars,
your physical and mental health is
Shakira Smiler can be reached
at stsmiler@umich.edu.
Readers are encouraged
to submit letters to the
editor. Send letters to:

Artists, writers, musicians, creatives:
Where are you headed after graduation?
Consider Toledo:
an affordable community with a great arts scene.
Call 419-284-ARTS(2787) for more info.
You may qualify for a relocation allowance.

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