Research projects


Information about recent Research Studies

Impact of Interactive Video Games on Underserved Children’s Health

Timeline: 2012-2015
Funding source: NIH
PI: Gao, Z., Stodden, D. Co-I: Feng, D.

The proposed study is a longitudinal study to examine the impact of interactive video games on minority children’s (7-9 years old) physical activity participation and health-related fitness, as well as the gender effect on the outcome variables. We are also testing a model within the intervention children to explain motor skill competence as a precursor for physical fitness and physical activity participation, with perceived motor competence as the mediating variable. Additionally, we are attempting to explore children’s perceptions and experiences with interactive video games.

Publications

  • Gao, Z., & Chen, S. (in press). Are field-based exergames useful in preventing childhood obesity? A systematic review. Obesity Review. (impact factor: 6.87)
  • Gao, Z., Chen, S., & Stodden, D. (in press). A comparison of young children’s physical activity levels in physical education, recess and school-based exergaming. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. (impact factor: 1.95)

Presentations

  • Gao, Z., Stodden, D., Huang, C., & Feng, D. (2014, April). Impact of exergaming on elementary children’s physical activity levels. Paper accepted for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in St. Louis, MO, 2014.
  • Gao, Z., Stodden, D., & Feng, D. (2014, April). Associations among elementary children’s motor skills, fitness and physical activity. Paper accepted for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in St. Louis, MO, 2014.

 

Relationships between Motor Skills, Perceived Competence, Physical Activity & Fitness

PI: Gao, Z.

The purpose of this project is to investigate the dynamic relationships between children’s motor skills, perceived competence, physical activity participation and fitness in different settings among diverse samples.

Presentations

  • Gao, Z. & Xiang, P. (2013, April). Children’s physical activity levels in interactive dance across skill levels. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Gao, Z., Stodden, D., & Zhang, T. (2013, April). Examining the mediating role of perceived competence in exergaming Activities. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Zhang, T., Thomas, K., & Gao, Z. (2013, April). Fitness mediates motor skills and physical activity in Hispanic children. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Huang, C., Gao, Z. & Ning, W. (2013, April). Body fat influences children’s perceived competence, physical activity, and fitness. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Gao, Z., Stodden, D., & Feng, D. (2014, April). Associations among elementary children’s motor skills, fitness and physical activity. Paper accepted for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in St. Louis, MO, 2014.

Publication

  • Stodden, D., True, L., Langendorfer, S., & Gao, Z. (2013). Associations among motor skill competence and health-related fitness: Evidence for Seefeldt’s proficiency barrier in young adults. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 84(3), 397-403. DOI:10.1080/02701367.2013.814910  (impact factor: 1.5)  
  • Stodden, D., Gao, Z., Goodway, J., Langendorfer, S., & Ferkel, R. (in press). Dynamic relationships among selected motor skills and health-related fitness in youth. Pediatrics Exercise Science. (impact factor: 1.7)
  • Lee, J., Stodden, D., Zhang, T., Yan, A.F., & Gao, Z. (in review). Examining the mediating role of perceived competence in exergaming Activities. Games for Health Journal.
Integrating Dance Dance Revolution to Promote Urban Latino School Children’s Physical Health and Academic Achievement: Project GAME.

Timeline: 2009-2011
Funding source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Salud America!; University of Utah

PI: Gao, Z. Co-I: Montenegro, R., Valdez, V.E., Hannon, J.C., & Xiang, P.

To examine the impact of an active video game- (Dance Dance Revolution [DDR]) based exercise program on urban Latino children’s health-related physical fitness and academic achievement. Subjects were recruited from an urban elementary school. In Year 1, assessments were conducted in August 2009 for 208 Latino children. The baseline included a 1-mile run, body mass index (BMI) measurements, and standardized reading and math scores. The subjects, who were in fourth grade, were then assigned to the intervention group (DDR, aerobic dance, etc.), engaging in 30 minutes of exercise during recess three times per week. Third and fifth graders comprised the comparison group, which was offered no structured exercise at school. Data were collected again in May 2010. We then tracked this cohort to the second year and collected data again in August 2010 and May 2011. In Year 2 the fourth grade children were again assigned to the intervention, while fifth and sixth graders were in the comparison group. Our data yielded significant differences between intervention and comparison groups in difference scores on 1 mile run and math scores in Year 1 and Year 2. The results also revealed significant net differences in the intervention versus non-intervention scores on only the 1-mile run for Grade 3 (p = .009). In addition, children’s yearly pre-test and post-test BMI group changes differed significantly (χ2(2)=6.6, p = .037) only for the first year of intervention, with a higher percentage remaining in the Health Fitness Zone. The findings suggested the DDR-based intervention improved children’s cardiorespiratory endurance and math scores over time. Educators may integrate active video game at schools to achieve the goals of promoting a physically active lifestyle, and enhancing academic success in urban Latino children.

Presentations

  • Gao, Z., & Xiang, P. (2011, September). Gaming Approaches to Promore Exercise. Project presented at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Salud America! annual summit meeting in San Antonio, TX, 2011.
  • Gao, Z., Xiang, P., & Stodden, D. (2012, May). Impact of an integrative dance based program on urban children’s physical fitness and academic achievement. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco, CA, 2012
  • Gao, Z. (2013, April). Children’s physical activity levels in DDR by body mass index. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Gao, Z. (2013, April). Evolution of school-based exergaming interventions. Presented at National Association for Sport and Physical Education in Charlotte, NC, 2013 (Keynote Speaker).
  • Gao, Z., & Xiang, P. (2014, April). Effects of DDR-based exercise on children’s self-esteem and physical activity. Paper accepted for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in St. Louis, MO, 2014.

Publications

  • Gao, Z., Hannan, P. F., Xiang, P., Stodden, D., & Valdez, V. (2013). Video game–based exercise, Latino children’s physical health, and academic achievement. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(3S3), s240-s246. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2012.11.023 (impact factor: 4.04)
  • Gao, Z., & Xiang, P. (in press). Effects of exergaming based exercise on urban children’s physical activity participation and body composition. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. (impact factor: 1.95)
  • Gao, Z. (2013). The impact of an exergaming intervention on urban school children’s physical activity levels and academic outcomes. Asian Journal of Exercise and Sport Science, 10(2), 1-10.
  • Gao, Z., & Xiang, P. (2014). Effects of exergaming based exercise on urban children’s physical activity participation and body composition. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 11(5). (impact factor: 1.95)
Active Video Games among Children

Timeline: 2008-present
Funding source: American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; Texas Tech University, University of Minnesota, University of Utah

PI: Gao, Z.

Presentations

  • Gao, Z., & Huang, C. (2012, March). Children’s motivation, perceived exertion and physical activity levels in exergaming. Paper for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Boston, MA, 2012.
  • Gao, Z., Liu, Y., You, F., & Ning, W. (2012, March). Fourth graders’ PA levels in interactive dance across weight status. Paper for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Boston, MA, 2012.
  • Gao, Z., Ning, W., & Stodden, D. (2012, March). Elementary children’s self-efficacy, enjoyment and perceived exertion in exergaming. Paper for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Boston, MA, 2012.
  • Gao, Z. & Zhang, T. (2012, May). Children’s physical activity levels and their psychological correlated in interactive dance versus and aerobic dance. Paper presented at the annual meeting of World Congress of Exercise is Medicine in San Francisco, CA, 2012.
  • Gao, Z., & Xiang, P. (2012, March). Impact of interactive dance on children’s PA and body composition. Paper for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Boston, MA, 2012.
  • Fu, Y., & Gao, Z. (2012, March). Comparing children’s physical activity levels in DDR and aerobic dance. Paper for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Boston, MA, 2012.
  • Ning, W., & Gao, Z. (2012, March). Role of exergaming in promoting physical activity and health. Paper for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Boston, MA, 2012.
  • Gao, Z., & Huang, C. (2013, April). Association among elementary children’s intrinsic motivation, rate of perceived exertion and physical activity in DDR. Paper presented at the 2013 International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, and Dance Forum in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Gao, Z., & Liu, Y. (2013, April). Children’s pedometer-based physical activity levels in active dance video games: Effect of body mass index. Paper presented at International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and Health Forum in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Ning, W., Gao, Z., Hart, M., Zhang, Y., & Burley, H. (2013, April). A meta-analysis of physiological and psychological benefits of exergaming. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Gao, Z., Stodden, D., & Ning, W. (2013, May). A comparison of young children’s physical activity levels in physical education, recess and exergaming. Paper presented at at American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN, 2013.
  • Gao, Z., Lewis, B., & Kosma, M. (2013, May). Using the Transtheoretical Model to examine the effects of exergaming on physical activity among children. Paper presented at at annual meeting of World Congress of Exercise is Medicine in Indianapolis, IN, 2013.
  • Gao, Z., Chen, S., & Pasco, D. (2014, May). Effects of exergaming on children’s health outcomes: A meta-analysis. Paper for presentation at Congress of Exercise is Medicine annual meeting in Orlando, FL, 2014.
  • Gao, Z. (2014, May). The role of exergaming in contributing to children’s daily physical activity levels. Paper submitted to The Games for Increasing Physical Activity Conference in Houston, TX.
  • Lee, J., & Gao, Z. (2014, April). Demographic correlates in children’s physical activity and physical fitness in exergaming. Paper submitted to International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and Health Forum in St. Louis, MO, 2014.

Publications

  • Gao, Z., & Podlog, L. (2012). Urban Latino children’s physical activity levels and performance in interactive video dance games: Effects of goal difficulty and goal specificity. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
  • Gao, Z., Huang, C., Liu, T., & Xiong, W. (2012). Impact of interactive dance games on urban children’s physical activity correlates and behavior. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness. 10,107-112. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesf.2012.10.009 (impact factor: 0.51).
  • Gao, Z. (2012). Motivated but not active: The dilemmas of incorporating interactive dance into gym class. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 9, 794-800.
  • Huang, C., & Gao, Z. (2013). Associations between students’ situational interest, mastery experience, and physical activity levels in interactive dance. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 18(2), 233-241. DOI:10.1080/13548506.2012.712703 (impact factor: 1.38)
  • Gao, Z. (2013). Lessons learned: Promoting children’s health through school-based active video game intervention. Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, S3, 004. doi: 10.4172/2165-7025.S3-004
  • Gao, Z., Podlog, L., & Huang, C. (2013). Associations among children’s situational motivation, physical activity participation, and enjoyment in an interactive dance game. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 2, 122-128. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2012.07.001
  • Gao, Z., Zhang, P., & Podlog, L. (2013). Examining elementary school children’s enjoyment of traditional tag games versus interactive dance games. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 1-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2013.845304 (impact factor: 1.38)
  • Gao, Z., Zhang, T., & Stodden, D. (2013). Children’s physical activity levels and their psychological correlated in interactive dance versus aerobic dance. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 2, 146-151.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2013.01.005
Fitness, Physical Activity Correlates and Interventions among Youth

PI: Gao, Z.
Timeline: 2008-present
Funding sources: American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; Texas Tech University, University of Minnesota, University of Utah

Presentations

  • Ning, W. & Gao, Z. (2012, March). Children’s exercise determinants and physical education in-class activity levels in predicting physical activity behavior. Paper for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Boston, MA, 2012.
  • Huang, C., & Gao, Z. (2012, March). The effect of after-school physical activities on children’s exercise determinants and behaviors. Paper for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Boston, MA, 2012.
  • Zhang, T., & Gao, Z. (2012, May). Motor skill competence and physical activity: Perceived competence as a mediator. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco, CA, 2012.
  • Fu, Y., & Gao, Z. (2013, April). Age and gender differences of adolescents’ physical activity in PE. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Ning, W., & Gao, Z. (2013, April). Associations between adolescents’ situational motivation and physical activity in PE. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Huang, C., & Gao, Z. (2013, April). Protection Motivation Theory-based beliefs predicts adolescents’ physical activity and intention. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Huang, C., & Gao, Z. (2013, April). Using motivational and volitional interventions to promote adolescents’ physical activity. Paper presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in Charlotte, NC, 2013.
  • Fu, Y., & Gao, Z. (2013, May). The influence of health-related physical fitness model on children’s physical activity levels and motivation. Paper presented at American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN, 2013.
  • Gao, Z., Huang, C., Stodden, D., Chen, S., & Feng, D. (2014, May). Children’s physical activity levels in school-based and after school programs. Paper for presentation at American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Orlando, FL, 2014.
  • Gao, Z. (2014, January). Children’s physical activity levels during physical education, recess, lunch-time and after-school. Paper presented at the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education Collaborative Conference and International Congress in San Diego, CA.
  • Chen, S., Xiang, P., & Gao, Z. (2014, April). Relationships between students’ perceived relatedness and motivational outcomes in PE. Paper accepted for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in St. Louis, MO, 2014.
  • Fu, Y., & Gao, Z. (2014, April). Impact of BMI on children’s fitness and enjoyment in PE. Paper accepted for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in St. Louis, MO, 2014.
  • Huang, C., & Gao, Z. (2014, April). Physical activity, Social-Cognitive variables, and stages of change in adolescents. Paper accepted for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in St. Louis, MO, 2014.

Publications

  • Sheng, H., & Gao, Z. (2012). Ethnicity differences in pedometer-based physical activity levels among adolescent girls. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, 10, 38-43.
  • Zhang, T., Solmon, M.A., Gao, Z., & Kosma, M. (2012). Promoting school students’ physical activity: A social ecological perspective. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 24, 92-105.
  • Gao, Z. (2012). Urban Latino school children’s physical activity correlates and daily physical activity participation: A social cognitive perspective. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 1-9. DOI:10.1080/13548506.2011.647699
  • Huang, C., & Gao, Z. (2012). The effect of after-school physical activities on children’s exercise determinants and behaviors. International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, and Dance Journal of Research, 7(1), 18-23.
  • Ning, W., Gao, Z., & Lodewyk, K. (2012). Associations between socio-motivational factors, physical education activity levels and physical activity behavior among youth. International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, and Dance Journal of Research, 7(1), 3-11.
  • Xiang, P., Chen, S., & Gao, Z. (2013). Instructional choices and student engagement in physical education. Asian Journal of Exercise and Sports Science, 10(1), 90-97.
  • Gao, Z., Xiang, P., Lochbaum, M., & Guan, J. (2013). The impact of achievement goals on cardiorespiratory fitness: Does self-efficacy make a difference? Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 84(3), 313-322. DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2013.814908. (impact factor: 1.5)
  • Gao, Z., Xiang, P., Chen, S., & McBride, R. (2013). The influence of student teaching experiences on pre-service PETE student teachers’ efficacy and outcome expectancy. Journal of Teaching, Research, and Media in Kinesiology, 2 1-15.
  • Chen, S., Kim, Y., & Gao, Z. (in press). The effects of physical education on youth’s daily physical activity and sedentary behavior. BMC Public Health. (impact factor: 2.08)
  • Fu, Y., & Gao, Z. (in press). The influence of Health-Related Physical Fitness Model on students’ motivation and physical activity levels. Perceptual and Motor Skills. (impact factor: 0.49)
  • Lodewyk, K., & Gao, Z. (2013). Epistemic-motivational profiles of fitness in high school physical education: Implications on indices of fitness engagement. International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, and Dance Journal of Research.
  • Gao, Z., Xiang, P., & Lochbaum, M. (2013). Relations of children’s hierarchical ability beliefs to their cardiovascular fitness, physical activity levels and persistence/effort. In John Saunders, Martin Holzweg, Walter Ho, & Lynn Housner, Current Issues in Contemporary Comparative Physical Education and Sport (pp. 121-129). Berlin, Germany: Logos Verlag Publisher.
  • Ning, W., & Gao, Z. (2013). Literature review on effect of physical activity on students’ cognitive abilities and academic achievement. In John Saunders, Martin Holzweg, Walter Ho, & Lynn Housner, Current Issues in Contemporary Comparative Physical Education and Sport (pp. 97-109). Berlin, Germany: Logos Verlag Publisher.
Youth sports participation, daily physical activity participation and physical fitness

PI: Gao, Z.
Timeline: 2013-present

Presentations

  • Lee, J., Gao, Z., & Nelson, T.F. (2014, April). The role of youth sports in promoting children’s physical activity. Paper accepted for presentation at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance National Conference in St. Louis, MO, 2014.

Publications

  • Podlog, L., Gao, Z., Kenow, L., Kleinert, J., Granquist, M., Newton, M., & Hannon, J. (2013). Injury rehabilitation overadherence: Preliminary scale validation and relationships with athletic identity and self-presentation concerns. Journal of Athletic Training, 48(3), 372-381. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-48.2.20. (impact factor: 2.48)
Effects of innovative physical activity programs on preschoolers’ health and cognitive function

PI: Gao, Z.
Timeline: 2014-present
Funding sources: University of Minnesota

Presentations

  • Coming soon
Improving Breast Cancer Survivors’ Disease Management Outcomes through Smartphone Apps and Online Health Community

PI: Gao, Z.
Timeline: 2015-present

Funding sources: University of Minnesota

Presentations

  • Coming soon
Effects of Exergaming on College Students’ Physiological and Psychosocial Outcomes

PI: Gao, Z.
Timeline: 2015-present

Presentations

  • Coming soon
Effects of Home-based Exergaming Program on Young Children’s Physical Activity and Adiposity

PI: Gao, Z.
Timeline: 2015-present
Funding sources: University of Minnesota

Presentations

  • Coming soon
Effects of virtual reality exercise on young adults’ health outcomes

PI: Gao, Z.
Timeline: 2016-present
Funding sources: University of Minnesota

Presentations

  • Coming soon
Promoting Physical Activity through Smartphone Apps in Overweight/Obese College Students

PI: Pope, Z; Faculty Mentor: Gao, Z.
Timeline: 2015-present
Funding sources: SHAPE America!

Presentations

  • Coming soon