Video game-based exercise, Latino children's physical health, and academic achievement

Zan Gao, Peter Hannan, Ping Xiang, David F. Stodden, Verónica E. Valdez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Background: There is a paucity of research investigating the effects of innovative physical activity programs on physical health and academic performance in the Latino population. Purpose: To examine the impact of Dance Dance Revolution [DDR]-based exercise on Latino children's physical fitness and academic achievement. Design: A repeated-measures crossover design was used. In Year 1, Grade-4 students were assigned to the intervention group and offered 30 minutes of exercise (DDR, aerobic dance) three times per week. Grade-3 and Grade-5 students made up the comparison group and were offered no structured exercise at school. In Year 2, the Grade-4 students were again assigned to the intervention, whereas Grade-5 and Grade-6 students were in the comparison group. Setting/participants: Assessments were conducted with 208 Latino school children. Main outcome measures: The baseline measures included time to complete a 1-mile run, BMI, and reading and math scores. Data were collected again 9 months later. Overall, data were collected in 2009-2011 and analyzed in 2012. Results: Data yielded significant differences between the intervention and comparison groups in differences in 1-mile run and math scores in Year 1 and Year 2. The results also revealed net differences in the intervention versus comparison group scores on the 1-mile run for Grade 3 (p<0.01). Additionally, children's yearly pre-test and post-test BMI group changes differed (χ2(2) = 6.6, p<0.05) only for the first year of intervention. Conclusions: The DDR-based exercise intervention improved children's cardiorespiratory endurance and math scores over time. Professionals should consider integrating exergaming at schools to achieve the goals of promoting a physically active lifestyle and enhancing academic success among Latino children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S240-S246
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number3 SUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


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