Schools in the US state of West Virginia are planning to use a PlayStation2 game to battle escalating rates of childhood obesity. The state, situated in the north east of the US, has the worst obesity problem in North America.

The plan is to use the Konami game Dance Dance Revolution (known as Dancing Stage here), which encourages kids to be more active and lose weight by dancing on an interactive dance mat. Fifty obese children aged 7-12 were studied for 24 weeks, and were shown to benefit significantly from playing the game for 30 minutes per day, five days a week.

Kids who did not play the game tended to put on weight, whereas those who did play either lost some of it or maintained their bulk.

It is hoped that if children are given copies of the game they will play it regularly enough to reduce their chances of developing heart problems, diabetes and other health issues which affect the clinically obese.