Dancing With Lawmakers | VideoAnne Kelly | 2/5/2009
And because a sedentary lifestyle can lead to heart disease, the American Heart Association and a group of fifth-graders tried to encourage legislators to get moving today.
The students didn`t just get lawmakers moving, they also got them to dance a bit.
Sen. Dwight Cook knows a thing or two about North Dakota politics, but there was one thing going on at the capitol today that was over his head.
"It`s not easy, it`s not easy at all," Cook says.
The response most legislators had after testing out Dance, Dance Revolution. The popular video game that gets players off the couch and onto their feet.
The game was part of American Heart Association`s display to remind the public, and lawmakers, that heart disease is the number one killer of Americans.
"We really do have a problem with overweight and obesity in North Dakota," says June Herman, the senior advocacy director for the North Dakota American Heart Association. "Sixty-five percent of our population is rated at that level. We gotta start when they`re young. And we need to reach them through exercises that engages them."
So the AH-A wrangled up a couple fifth graders who indeed were fully engaged by the DDR.
"They`ve just been going, they`ll take a drink break and come back and do it," says Tammi Doppler, a gym teacher at Solheim Elementary.
"It`s a blast, you`re having fun, and you`re exercising," says fifth-grader Taylor Schaubert.
Unfortunately, legislators weren`t so enthused about the high-tech workout.
"Most of them, I think, are a little shy or shy away from it because of the technology, I think they`re afraid like `Oh is this going to move too fast for me?` And `I can`t do this,`" says Doppler.
"We call them victims because a lot of them don`t want to do it," Schaubert adds.
And as the victims soon found out, DDR is more about coordination than anything.
"You can look at the sign on the screen, it tell you what to do and then your minds got to react, it`s got to react much faster," says Cook.
"A couple of them quit in the middle of a song, couple of them finished, and a couple of them did pretty good," says fifth-grader Luke Askew.
First Lady Mikey Hoeven was among the top scoring in the political sector. But she admits, she had the upper hand as the concept of the game isn`t new because she`s played Guitar Hero.
Many of Bismarck`s Public Schools practice a modified version of Dance Dance Revolution in gym class. The students basically look at a DDR screen but jump on mats that aren`t hooked up to the TV.