Yeah, it sounds like someone’s spoof or parody of role-playing games. But it isn’t quite that.

Over at Wired, Clive Thompson has an article up that examines the Weight Watchers program. He concludes that it’s set up in very much an RPG style. There’s inventory management (the food), points (almost like hitpoints in reverse), and leveling up (or maybe that should be leveling down ;), with the goal, naturally, of losing weight (hmm, fragging Foozle the Fat…).

Much of that is done online through a special tool that keeps track of everything for you. The idea is to make following the program a fun experience instead of a grind. Going by the article, it seems to work.

Near the end, Clive asks: “Why not a game that gives you points for walking your dog or jogging?”. As it turns out, there is one, for kids.

Called “ME2”, from Irwin Toys (known also as IToys), it combines online games with offline activity, and I do mean activity. Kids wear a sophisticated pedometer device while they run, play, bike ride, etc. (we hope not while swimming!).

These are registered as “points” which are then uploaded to the online games, allowing kids to unlock extra content. When the points are used up, the kids have to become active again.

Does it work? I don’t know. This is all very new, and I couldn’t find anything on a quick Google search beyond basic write-ups of the system. It might be viable, provided the online games and activities are interesting enough to the kids.

Still, this and the Weight Watchers program show there’s a lot of interest in getting the online and offline worlds to cooperate in positive ways. Who knows what the future may bring?

Fun Way to Lose Weight on wired.com