240217 Using health e-games (exergames) to encourage physical activity among urban middle school youth

Monday, October 31, 2011

Karen A. McDonnell, PhD , Prevention and Community Health, George Washington University SPHHS, Washington, DC
Todd A. Miller, PhD , Department of Exercise Science, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC
Alison Vaux-Bjerke, MPH , Department of Exercise Science, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC
Children's lack of physical activity(PA) is a threat to public health. The new generation of health e-games (exergames) offers options for PA in a safe play-inspired environment. The purpose of this study is to compare enjoyment and energy expenditure(EE) of traditional school based PE activities to that of two exergames: Dance, Dance Revolution(DDR), a dance genre exergame and the Winds of Orbis (ORBIS) a prototype Active-Adventure exergame. Methods: Participants (n=75) included primarily African-American/Latino middle school students (6th-8th grade), 60% male, 50% overweight/obese (85th percentile), in the District of Columbia. PA enjoyment was measured with visual analogue scales at baseline and after each activity. EE was measured during 20 minutes of participation in PE, ORBIS, and DDR using accelerometry. Mean enjoyment scores and EE values were compared using multivariate analyses. Results: Obese/overweight and female students showed significantly (p<0.05) lower enjoyment scores for PA/PE at baseline. No significant differences were found for enjoyment of either exergame by BMI percentile. Boys showed higher levels of enjoyment for ORBIS and girls for DDR. The greatest average EE occurred in the PE modality (2.900.96 kcal/min), followed by ORBIS (2.530.85 kcal/min), and DDR (2.070.79 kcal/min). For the sample overall, EE differences between activities were statistically significant. There were no significant differences between PE and ORBIS stratified within overweight/obese and male students. Conclusion: Exergaming showed promising results in increasing PA/PE enjoyment and energy expenditure among middle school youth. The use of health e-games offers unique ways to improve children's health, especially in the area of physical activity.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
To discuss potential benefits of active health e-games (exergames) to encourage physical activity among urban middle school youth. To compare middle school youth energy expenditure during PE class to energy expended while playing exergames. To compare middle school youth enjoyment of exergames compared to traditional PE class.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Children's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-investigator of the grant/project and designed the proposal, implementation and evaluation
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.