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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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Kara C. Hamilton, Mark T. Richardson, Shanda McGraw, Teirdre Owens and John C. Higginbotham

to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) most days of the week, 3 but, nationwide, only 47% of children meet this guideline; and, in Alabama, only 43% of children meet it. 4 Moreover, studies have shown that underserved children who are of low socioeconomic status (SES) are even less physically active