The Nintendo Wii Fit Plus has become the first computer game to be endorsed by the Department of Health.

The game, which will go on sale on Friday 30 October, has been granted permission to use the NHS Change4Life logo in its advertising and in shops.

Change4Life is an NHS campaign to persuade everyone, but particularly children, to eat healthily and take more exercise. From next year, the product itself may also carry the logo.

Nintendo has agreed to use its own money to promote the NHS Change4Life programme, which also has commercial support from firms including Pepsi and Cadbury.

A spokesman from the DH said it was not endorsing the video game but exercise. He said: “Active video games, where kids need to jump up and down or dance about as part of the game, are a great way to get kids moving more.

“Little bits of activity like this, throughout the day can easily add up to the 60 active minutes kids need. But our ‘How Are The Kids’ survey showed that at the moment our kids just aren’t getting up and about enough.”

Wii Fit Plus is an updated version of the Wii Fit game that was launched early last year. It allows players to use an in-screen guide to engage in a number of activities such as yoga and tennis to improve their fitness.

The move was welcomed by the video games industry, which complained to the Advertising Standards Authority over an earlier advert for Change4Life which associated video games with inactivity.

Earlier this month, publis health minister Gillian Merron announced that Change4Life would be paying £640,000 to sponsor The Simpsons. Special episodes of the show will feature healthy eating and exercise messages.

Link: Nintendo Wii