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$1.2million in Government Money Spent to Develop an Anti-Obesity Video Game - Erika Kurre

Stream Fox 17 newscasts LIVE starting with Fox 17 This Morning at 5 am and News at 9 pm.

NASHVILLE, TN - A government foundation is funding the development of a video game to combat childhood obesity.

In this Fox 17 Waste Watch report, the National Science Foundation says the "exergame" project is being funded with $1.2 million dollars in taxpayer money.
   
It's money that many in the mid-state think would be better spent elsewhere.

Playing dodge ball in the Northwest Nashville YMCA gym-- It's among the after school activities here that are targeted toward combating childhood obesity.

In Mt. Juliet, Pediatrician Dr. Donna Lett with TriStar Summit Medical Center and Children's Clinic East estimates as many as 70-percent of the children she sees are overweight.

She says it's an epidemic nationwide with no simple answer to the problem.

That's why these middle schoolers at the YMCA are also learning healthy eating habits hands-on. 

It's a far cry from playing video games like Wii Fit or Dance Revolution, something similar to what middle school students in South Carolina are charged with developing as another tool to combat obesity.

The National Science Foundation says more than a million dollars in government grant money has been given to Purdue University to help with the project.

It's an NSF initiative that they say is intended to get more female students interested in computer programming and other STEM skill activities.

The NSF admits-- and most can agree-- it's less of an investment in reducing childhood obesity.

It could even be harmful to the cause.

Middle TN YMCA Youth Obesity Prevention Specialist Alley Pickren says the most important factors to a healthier lifestyle are decreased screen time, increased physical activity and a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar sweetened beverages.

It's a concept these kids are learning by doing.

The NSF says after the grant expires, researchers could apply for another grant to continue the program.
   
We're told even if it serves its purpose, it won't ever be marketed or sold by the government.