- Exergames / Active Gaming
- Interactive Fitness Activities
- Active Learning Games
Generally defined, exergames are technology driven activities that require a screen in order for the student to physically participate in the activity. Conversely, interactive fitness activities are non-screen based technology driven games requiring the student to use their body to play. Active learning games are technology driven activities that provide students with an academic game focus while being physically active and are more commonly associate with the academic classroom.
YMCA’s, Schools, JCC’s, Park Districts, Health Clubs, Military, Hospitals and Rehab centers all use Active Gaming as a method to enhance their already successful fitness programs.
Asst. Professor Lisa Hansen, the Co-director of the USF Active Gaming Research Lab, talks about the purpose of the lab—both for the children and the researchers.
Factors that make good Active Games/Exergames (TEN Network Data)
- Intensity – How much exercise does the game require?
- Engagement – Is the game appealing to the target user?
- Duration – How long will it be played for in on sitting?
- Frequency – Will the target user play the game often?
- Progression – Does the game challenge a wide range of abilities?
- Immersion – How good is the immersion?
- Effort installation
- Effort setup – What has to be done for each session ?
- Learning curve – Is it easy to learn how to play?
- Difficulty – Is there a wide range of difficulty?
- Difficulty at the same time – Can people with different ability play at the same time?
- Needed place – How much place is needed to play the game?
- Cost Buy - How much does it cost (whole Equipment)?
- Cost Play – How much cost the use?
- Energy used – How much energy is used to play the game?
- Accessibility – Is the game accessible?
- Number of Players
- Bio Feedback – Does the game also collect bio data?
- Outdoor / Indoor?
- Extensible – Is the game extensible?
- Risk of injury – Is there a risk of injury?
- Instructor needed – Is an instructor needed/recommended?
- Adaptable - Is the game/programm adabtable to the needs of the user?
- Training – What is trained by playing the game?
- Fun – Serious – Is it more serious or more fun?
- Rehabilitation – Is it also usable in rehabilitation?
- Age rating – What kind of content has the game?
- Future – Are there coming more contents/updates/versions of the game?
- Trend – Is it “in” or not (important for the acceptance)?
- Online – Can it be played online?
- Tournaments – Are tournaments possible?
Active Gaming Research Methods and Approaches
Projects investigating the physiological and enjoyment responses to active video gaming in the laboratory and field have used the following measurement tools:
- Portable indirect calorimetry – oxygen consumption and energy expenditure
- Actiheart and Team Polar monitors – heart rate
- ActiGraph accelerometers – upper and lower limb physical activity
- Intelligent Device for Energy Expenditure for Activity (IDEEA) system – energy expenditure
- Digiwalker pedometers – steps taken
- Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) – acute enjoyment
Projects evaluating the effect of home, school or community-based active video gaming interventions have used the following measurement tools:
- ActiGraph accelerometers – 7 day habitual physical activity and sedentary time
- Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) – body composition and bone health • Self-report surveys – time spent in leisure behaviors (TV viewing, video game use, computer/internet use for pleasure) and productive (doing homework, reading, working on a computer) behaviors
- Clinical Physical Self-perception Profile (CPSPP), Ageing Well Profile (AWP), World Health Organisation Quality of Health (WHOQOL-BREF) – psychological well-being and quality of life
Dr. Colleen Kennedy, Dean of the USF College of Education, talks about the kind of interdisciplinary research the lab is involved in, as well as what the students thinks of the lab.
Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, says the Active Gaming Research Lab ‘enhances’ regular physical education.
History of Childhood Obesity:
Childhood obesity statistics in the United States have caught the attention of every aspect of our nation recently. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year. The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion. Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they adopt obesity in America and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise.
Over the past three decades, the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years. At present, approximately nine million children over 6 years of age are considered obese. Trends in childhood and youth obesity mirror a similar profound increase over the same approximate period in U.S. adults as well as a concurrent rise internationally, in both developed and developing countries.
The obesity epidemic affects both boys and girls and has occurred in all age, race, and ethnic groups throughout the United States. In addition to the increase in obesity prevalence, the heaviest group of children is getting heavier whereas the leanest group of children is staying lean. What this means is that among younger age groups of children 6 to 11 years of age, and to a lesser extent adolescents, the lower part of the BMI distribution appears to have changed little over time.
Overweight and obesity in children are significant public health problems in the United States. The number of adolescents who are overweight has tripled since 1980 and the prevalence among younger children has more than doubled. According to the 1999-2002 NHANES survey, 16 percent of children age 6-19 years are overweight (see Figure 1). Not only have the rates of overweight increased, but also the heaviest children in a recent NHANES survey were markedly heavier than those in previous surveys.
Figure 1. Prevalence of overweight among children and adolescents ages 6-19 years
During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in childhood obesity statistics and general obesity in the United States. In 2008, only one state (Colorado) had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-two states had prevalence equal to or greater than 25%; six of these states (Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia ) had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30%. Figure 2 below shows the prevalence of obesity by state as of 2008.
Figure 2. Prevalence of obesity by state as of 2008. [View Obesity by State Chart]
The State of Washington has a very good article on Childhood Obesity Statistics in the United Sates and the trends we are witnessing. You can access that article here. Granted, a lot of the childhood obesity statistics listed in this article are relevant to Washington State, but the trends are similar in other areas of the country, if not worse.
Overweight children and adolescents are at risk for health problems during their youth and as adults. For example, during their youth, overweight children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes) than are other children and adolescents. Overweight children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults, according to certain childhood obesity statistics and studies. For example, one study found that approximately 80% of children who were overweight at age 10-15 were obese adults at age 25. Another study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children. The latter study also found that if overweight begins before age 8, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe. The March 2004 Journal of the American Medical Association reported that poor diet and physical inactivity soon could overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
When it comes to childhood obesity statistics worldwide, Finland may be more obese than France or Poland, the statistics are not clear. Statistics are only generally available and sensible for developed countries. After these countries come, in turn: Iceland, Spain, Estonia, Austria, Ireland, Latvia, Czech, Canada, Lithuania, Australia, Luxembourg and Hungary. With a percentage of obesity of over 20% follow Portugal, Slovakia, Germany, UK, Mexico, Cyprus and Malta, with the USA breaking into the 30s! (Did you catch that? There’s an extra emphasis that the US is in the 30% prevalence of obesity!) There are no statistics given for Australia (known to be surprisingly obese), and many other countries especially non European ones. Data is taken from the latest reports, 2000, 2001 or 2002.
The International Association for the Study of Obesity publishes reports into childhood obesity, the following chart was published in the British Medical Journal on their data on international overweight rates amongst 10-16 year old children.
The red portions highlight the numbers of children who are actually obese and not merely overweight. The dangers of childhood obesity are great, and their effects become a heavy burden on societal health and welfare spending. The numbers have continued to increase drastically since 2000/2001.
Countries that feature regularly on this page which have very low levels of childhood overweightness include the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland, followed by Sweden, Germany and France.
Childhood obesity statistics worldwide are very alarming. Giving to the rise in “instant” technology, we can see, for the first time, how obesity is growing around the globe. The sedentary lifestyles of children in all developed countries are helping to raise the childhood obesity statistics to these alarming numbers. It’s time to take action and get our children off their butts and into the active lives they need. Only then will these childhood obesity statistics go down back below where they were three decades ago.