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Zan Gao

Background:

Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) is considered a tool to help children promote a healthy active lifestyle. Empirical studies in this field have been largely unexplored. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between students’ mastery experiences, situational motivation, and physical activity levels in DDR.

Methods:

One hundred and ninety-five seventh, eighth, and ninth graders participated in a 2-week DDR unit. Students’ physical activity levels and situational motivation [intrinsic motivation (IM), identified regulation (IR), external regulation, and amotivation) were measured for 3 classes.

Results:

Students were motivated to play DDR, but their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was low (ie, mean = 4.95%). In addition, students with successful mastery experiences had significantly higher IM, IR, and MVPA.

Conclusions:

Although students were motivated for DDR, they were not physically active in DDR. In addition, successful mastery experience played an important role in students’ motivation and physical activity levels in DDR.

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Zan Gao and Ping Xiang

Guided by an expectancy-value model of achievement choice (Eccles et al., 1983; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000), the relationships among expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values (importance, interest, and usefulness), and achievement outcomes (intention, engagement, and performance) were examined in a college-level beginning weight training class. A total of 156 students (73 males, 83 females) completed questionnaires assessing their expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values, and intention for future participation. Their engagement was measured via self-recorded workout log entries in class, and their performance was determined by two skill tests. Results of the study supported the application of the expectancy-value model in the context of a college weight training class. Importance and interest were significant predictors of intention and engagement, whereas expectancy-related beliefs emerged as the only predictor of performance. Males reported higher scores on expectancy-related beliefs and performed better than females.

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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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Zan Gao, Leslie William Podlog and Louis Harrison

The purpose of this study was to examine relationships among college students’ 2 × 2 goal orientations (mastery-approach [MAp], mastery-avoidance [MAv], performance-approach [PAp], performance-avoidance [PAv]), situational motivation (intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, external regulation and amotivation) and effort/persistence in physical activity classes. Participants (140 female, 109 male) completed a battery of questionnaires assessing the outcome variables at the last week of instruction. Regression analyses revealed that MAp and PAp emerged as positive predictors for intrinsic motivation whereas MAp was the only positive predictor for identified regulation. MAp was negatively related to amotivation (AM), while PAp and PAv were positively related to AM. In addition, MAp, PAp, intrinsic motivation, and identified regulation were significant positive predictors of effort/persistence.

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Zan Gao, Ken R. Lodewyk and Tao Zhang

This study uncovers the predictive relationship of middle school students’ ability beliefs (self-efficacy and expectancy-related beliefs) and incentives (outcome expectancy, importance, interest, and usefulness) to intention, cardiovascular fitness, and teacher-rated effort in physical education. Participants (N = 252; 118 boys, 134 girls) completed questionnaires assessing their ability beliefs, incentives, and intention for future participation in physical education, and then had their cardiovascular fitness assessed with the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test. Students’ effort in class was rated by their respective physical education teachers. Correlation analysis yielded significantly positive relationships between ability beliefs and incentives. Regression results revealed that ability beliefs, importance, interest, and usefulness significantly predicted intention for future participation. Ability beliefs also emerged as significant predictors of PACER test scores whereas self-efficacy was the only predictor of teacher-rated effort. Implications for educational practice are discussed.

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Zan Gao, Senlin Chen and David F. Stodden

Purpose:

To compare young children’s different intensity physical activity (PA) levels in physical education, recess and exergaming programs.

Methods:

Participants were 140 first and second grade children (73 girls; Meanage= 7.88 years). Beyond the daily 20-minute recess, participants attended 75-minute weekly physical education classes and another 75-minute weekly exergaming classes. Children’s PA levels were assessed by ActiGraph GTX3 accelerometers for 3 sessions in the 3 programs. The outcome variables were percentages of time spent in sedentary, light PA and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA).

Results:

There were significant main effects for program and grade, and an interaction effect for program by grade. Specifically, children’s MVPA in exergaming and recess was higher than in physical education. The 2nd-grade children demonstrated lower sedentary behavior and MVPA than the first-grade children during recess; less light PA in both recess and exergaming than first-grade children; and less sedentary behavior but higher MVPA in exergaming than first-grade children.

Conclusions:

Young children generated higher PA levels in recess and exergaming as compared with physical education. Hence, other school-based PA programs may serve as essential components of a comprehensive school PA program. Implications are provided for educators and health professionals.

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Zan Gao, Amelia M. Lee, Melinda A. Solmon and Tao Zhang

This study investigated the relationships and mean-level changes of middle school students’ motivation (expectancy-related beliefs, task values, self-efficacy, and outcome expectancy) toward physical education over time, and how gender affected students’ motivation. Participants (N = 206) completed questionnaires over a 1-year period: once in the sixth and seventh grades and again in the seventh and eighth grades. Results yielded that self-efficacy and task values were positive predictors of students’ intention across cohorts. The mean levels of self-efficacy decreased over time for students in Cohort 1 (across sixth and seventh grades). However, results revealed a consistent decline in the mean levels of other motivational variables for both cohorts. No gender differences emerged for the variables. The findings are discussed in regard to the implications for educational practice, and future research areas are presented.

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Jung Eun Lee, David F. Stodden and Zan Gao

Background:

Few studies have examined young children’s leisure- and school-based energy expenditure (EE) and moderateto-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The purpose of this study was to explore children’s estimated EE rates and time spent in MVPA in 3 time segments: at-school, after-school, and weekends.

Methods:

A total of 187 second and third grade children from 2 elementary schools participated in the study. Accelerometers were used to assess children’s 5-day EE and MVPA. Multiple 2 (Grade) × 2 (Gender) ANOVAs with repeated measures (Time) were conducted to examine the differences in the outcome variables.

Results:

Significant time effects on EE and MVPA were revealed. Children’s EE rate and minutes in MVPA per day were higher during after school and weekends than at school.

Conclusions:

Although children were more active outside of school, their MVPA during weekdays and weekends still fell far short of the recommended level of 60 minutes/day.

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Zachary C. Pope, Beth A. Lewis and Zan Gao

Background:

The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) has been widely used to understand individuals’ physical activity (PA) correlates and behavior. However, the theory’s application among children in exergaming remains unknown.

Purpose:

Investigate the effects of an exergaming program on children’s TTM-based PA correlates and PA levels.

Methods:

At pretest and posttest, 212 upper elementary children (mean age = 11.17 years) from the greater Mountain West Region were administered measures regarding stages of change (SOC) for PA behavior, decisional balance for PA behaviors, PA self-efficacy, and self-reported PA levels. Following the pretest, a weekly 30-minute, 18-week Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) program was implemented. Children were classified into 3 SOC groups: progressive children (ie, progressed to a higher SOC stage); stable children (ie, remained at the same SOC stage); and regressive children (ie, regressed to a lower SOC stage).

Results:

Progressive children had greater increased PA levels than regressive children (P < .01) from pretest to posttest. Similarly, progressive children had greater increased self-efficacy (P < .05) and decision balance (P < .05) than regressive children.

Conclusions:

The findings indicate that progressive children had more improvements on self-efficacy, decisional balance, and PA levels than regressive children over time. Implications of findings are discussed.

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Peng Zhang, Jung Eun Lee, David F. Stodden and Zan Gao

Background: The objective was to examine changes of children’s time spent in sedentary, light physical activity, moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and estimated energy expenditure (EE) rates during weekdays and weekends across 3 years. Methods: An initial sample of 261 children’s (mean age = 7.81 y) 5-day physical activity and EE were assessed annually via accelerometry across 3 years using repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance. The outcome variables were time spent in sedentary, light physical activity, MVPA, and kilocalories per day for weekdays and weekends. Results: A significant decrease in MVPA and EE occurred during weekdays across the 3 years (P = .01). Only the second-year data demonstrated an increase (+2.49 min) in weekend MVPA (P = .04). Children’s sedentary time during weekdays increased significantly in years 1 and 2 (P = .01), yet significantly decreased in the third year (−44.31 min). Children’s sedentary time during weekends significantly decreased in the first year (−27.31 min), but increased in the following 2 years (P = .01). Children’s light physical activity demonstrated a statistically significant increase in year 2 (+3.75 min) during weekdays (P = .05). Conclusions: Children’s MVPA and EE generally declined during weekdays but were maintained during weekends across a 3-year time span. Children may benefit most from weekday intervention strategies.