Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Is the Nintendo Wii Fit really acceptable to older people?: a discrete choice experiment

Kate Laver1*, Julie Ratcliffe2, Stacey George1, Leonie Burgess3 and Maria Crotty1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

2 Flinders Clinical Effectiveness, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

3 Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Geriatrics 2011, 11:64  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-64

Published: 20 October 2011



Interactive video games such as the Nintendo Wii Fit are increasingly used as a therapeutic tool in health and aged care settings however, their acceptability to older people is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the acceptability of the Nintendo Wii Fit as a therapy tool for hospitalised older people using a discrete choice experiment (DCE) before and after exposure to the intervention.


A DCE was administered to 21 participants in an interview style format prior to, and following several sessions of using the Wii Fit in physiotherapy. The physiotherapist prescribed the Wii Fit activities, supervised and supported the patient during the therapy sessions. Attributes included in the DCE were: mode of therapy (traditional or using the Wii Fit), amount of therapy, cost of therapy program and percentage of recovery made. Data was analysed using conditional (fixed-effects) logistic regression.


Prior to commencing the therapy program participants were most concerned about therapy time (avoiding programs that were too intensive), and the amount of recovery they would make. Following the therapy program, participants were more concerned with the mode of therapy and preferred traditional therapy programs over programs using the Wii Fit.


The usefulness of the Wii Fit as a therapy tool with hospitalised older people is limited not only by the small proportion of older people who are able to use it, but by older people's preferences for traditional approaches to therapy. Mainstream media portrayals of the popularity of the Wii Fit with older people may not reflect the true acceptability in the older hospitalised population.