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Zan Gao and Ping Xiang

Background:

Exergaming has been considered a fun solution to promoting a physically active lifestyle. This study examined the impact of an exergaming-based program on urban children’s physical activity participation, body composition and perceptions of the program.

Methods:

A sample of 185 children’s physical activity was measured in August 2009 (pretest), and percent body fat was used as index of body composition. Fourth graders were assigned to intervention group engaging in 30 minutes exergaming-based activities 3 times per week, while third and fifth graders were in comparison group. Measurements were repeated 9 months later (posttest). Interviews were conducted among 12 intervention children.

Results:

ANCOVA with repeated measures revealed a significant main effect for intervention, F(1, 179) = 10.69, P < .01. Specifically, intervention children had significantly greater increased physical activity levels than comparison children. Logistic regression for body composition indicated intervention children did not differ significantly in percent body fat change from comparison children, Chi square = 5.42, P = .14. Children interviewed reported positive attitudes toward the intervention.

Conclusions:

The implementation of exergaming-based program could have a significantly positive effect on children’s physical activity participation and attitudes. Meanwhile, long-term effect of the program on children’s body composition deserves further investigation.

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Jeffrey Liew, Ping Xiang, Audrea Y. Johnson, and Oi-Man Kwok

Background:

Schools often include running in their physical education and health curriculum to increase physical activity and reduce childhood overweight. But having students run around may not be enough to sustain physical activity habits if motivational factors are not well understood. This study examined effortful persistence as a predictor of running.

Methods:

Participants were 246 5th graders, and data on their demographic information, body mass index (BMI), effortful persistence, and time to complete a 1-mile run were collected across 4 years.

Results:

Between 5th to 8th grades, effortful persistence predicted time to complete a 1-mile run even when BMI was taken into account at every grade except for 7th grade. Rank-order stability was found in major variables across-time, but no across-time prediction was found for effortful persistence on a 1-mile run.

Conclusions:

Lack of longitudinal predictions bodes well for interventions aimed at increasing physical activity, because children or youth with high BMIs or low effortful persistence are not destined for future underachievement on physically challenging activities. Given the stability of variables, interventions that target fostering self-regulatory efficacy or effortful persistence may be particularly important for getting children on trajectories toward healthy and sustained levels of physical activity.

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Ping Xiang, Ron E. McBride, April Bruene, and Yuanlong Liu

This study examined achievement goal orientation patterns and their impact on student motivation in physical education running programs. Participants included 533 fifth graders. They completed questionnaires assessing their achievement goal orientations, expectancy beliefs, task values, and intentions for future participation in running. They also completed a timed, 1-mile run. Data revealed 4 goal orientation patterns: low task/low ego, low task/high ego, high task/low ego, and high task/high ego. Students in the high-task/low-ego and high-task/high-ego groups demonstrated higher levels of motivation in running than those in the low-task/low-ego and low-task/high-ego groups.