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You Fu and Ryan D. Burns

Background: The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of an active video gaming (AVG) classroom curriculum on health-related fitness, school day steps, and motivation in sixth graders. Methods: A convenience sample of 65 sixth graders were recruited from 2 classrooms from a school located in the Western United States. One classroom served as the comparison group (n = 32) that participated in active free play, and one classroom served as the intervention group (n = 33) that participated in an AVG curriculum for 30 minutes per day, 3 days per week, for 18 weeks. Cardiorespiratory endurance was assessed using Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run laps. School day steps were recorded, and motivational variables were collected using questionnaires. Measures were collected at baseline and an 18-week posttest time point. Results: There was a significant group × time interaction for Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run laps (b = 20.7 laps; 95% confidence interval, 14.6 to 26.8; P < .001). No statistically significant interactions were found for step counts or any of the motivational variables. Conclusions: An 18-week AVG classroom curriculum improved cardiorespiratory endurance relative to the comparison group in sixth graders. This study supports the use of low-cost AVG curricula to improve the health-related fitness of youth.

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You Fu and Ryan D. Burns

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between gross motor skills and school day steps per minute, testing various motivational constructs as potential mediators. A convenience sample of 66 sixth-grade children (mean age = 11.6 ± 0.5 years; 30 boys, 36 girls) were recruited from one public “Zoom” school. Gross motor skills were assessed using the Test for Gross Motor Development-3rd Edition. Motivational constructs were assessed using a series of validated questionnaires. Children wore a pedometer for one school week. A bootstrap mediation analysis was employed using gross motor skills scores as the predictor variable and steps per minute as the outcome variable; the motivational constructs consisted of perceived competence, enjoyment, and self-efficacy as potential mediators. The results from a bootstrap mediation analysis yielded a statistically significant average causal mediation effect (ACME) using perceived competence as the mediator (ACME = 0.022, 95% CI [0.001, 0.054], p = .018). Perceived competence mediated 30.8% of the total effect between gross motor skill scores and steps per minute, with the entire model explaining approximately 13.6% of the variance. The relationship between gross motor skills and school day physical activity may be mediated through perceived competence in sixth-grade children.

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You Fu, Zan Gao, James C. Hannon, Ryan D. Burns and Timothy A. Brusseau Jr.


This study aimed to examine the effect of a 9-week SPARK program on physical activity (PA), cardiorespiratory endurance (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run; PACER), and motivation in middle-school students.


174 students attended baseline and posttests and change scores computed for each outcome. A MANOVA was employed to examine change score differences using follow-up ANOVA and Bonferroni post hoc tests.


MANOVA yielded a significant interaction for Grade × Gender × Group (Wilks’s Λ = 0.89, P < .001). ANOVA for PA revealed significant differences between SPARK grades 6 and 7 (Mean Δ = 8.11, P < .01) and Traditional grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = –6.96, P < .01). ANOVA also revealed greater PACER change for Traditional boys in grade 8 (P < .01) and SPARK girls in grade 8 (P < .01). There were significant interactions with perceived competence differences between SPARK grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = 0.38, P < .05), Enjoyment differences between SPARK grades 6 and 7 (Mean Δ = 0.67, P < .001), and SPARK grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = 0.81, P < .001).


Following the intervention, SPARK displayed greater increases on PA and motivation measures in younger students compared with the Traditional program.

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Ryan D. Burns, Timothy A. Brusseau, Yi Fang, You Fu and James C. Hannon


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), aerobic fitness, and cardio-metabolic risk factors in Hispanic children from low-income U.S. schools.


Participants were 198 Hispanic children from low-income schools (Mean age = 10.3 ± 0.5 years; 119 girls, 79 boys). Waist circumference, height, and cardio-metabolic blood markers were collected in a fasted state. Estimated VO2 Peak scores were also collected. Multilevel generalized mixed effects models were employed to examine the independent effect of WHtR and aerobic fitness classification on a child meeting recommended levels for each cardio-metabolic blood marker.


A child having a WHtR < 0.5 related to meeting recommended levels for HDL cholesterol (OR = 3.25, p < .01), triglycerides (OR = 2.94, p < .01), glucose (OR = 3.42, p < .01), and related to a lower continuous Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP) score (β = −8.5 mmHg, p < .01). Aerobic fitness classification only independently related to meeting recommended levels for HDL cholesterol (OR = 2.94, p = .010).


Having a WHtR < 0.5 independently associated with favorable cardio-metabolic blood markers and thus serves as an effective screening tool for cardio-metabolic risk in Hispanic children from low-income schools.