Educational Exergaming

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


 My name is Zan Gao and I am the Director of the University of Minnesota’s Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory with an interest in using novel technology to help improve the health of a diverse array of populations. I am emailing you today to gauge your interest in having your child(ren) participating in a university study.

 Participation in regular physical activity is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Promoting lifelong physical activity starts at a young age. Using novel and innovative physical activities congruent with young children’s interests is important in this endeavor. Luckily, we live in an age of technology wherein active video games provide an opportunity for increased physical activity participation. Yet, the effectiveness of educational active video games as a tool for increasing preschool children’s physical activity and cognitive functioning and reducing body fat percentage remains largely understudied.

 The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of home-based educational active video games on preschool children’s physical activity, cognitive functioning, and adiposity. Think this study is a good fit for your child? See the participant requirements below.

Participant requirements
  • Parental interest in child(ren)’s participation
  • 4-6 years old child(ren) and English speaking
  • HDMI compatible TV or VGA-compatible TV with VGA to HDMI coverter
  • Possess no diagnosed physical or mental disorder
  • Lives with 25 miles of University of Minnesota
  • Willing to do intervention for 3 months
  • Willing to complete measures
  • Not moving out of area in next 6 months

Participants will be requested to come into the University of Minnesota’s Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory for baseline, 4-month, and 6-month cardiovascular fitness, cognitive functioning, and body composition testing. Otherwise, intervention will be completed at home with child(ren) randomized to two groups: (1) intervention group or (2) delayed-intervention control group. Each participant will get a $25 gift card upon completion of all measurements, as well as return of the physical activity accelerometer and successful download of the data set from the accelerometer for each cycle (A total of $75 for each participant). In addition, the parents will be encouraged to engage their child/children in the regular intervention activities for three months. Upon following all guidelines and protocols by the end of intervention, the parents of each family will receive $100 as the incentive.

Please contact:

Zachary Pope, MK
Graduate Research Assistant
University of Minnesota
Room 310, Williamson Hall
231 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: (208) 891-9421

Zan Gao, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota
Room 207, Cooke Hall
1900 University Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: (612) 626-4639