The Florida Childhood Obesity Prevention Project also established an exergaming center in a public elementary school where its impact on children's physical activity behaviors and weight status was assessed. Exergaming, also known as technology based physical activity, is designed to promote positive attitudes and increase the daily participation in health enhancing physical activity. An exergaming school center allowed researchers to evaluate and disseminate information about this innovative technological approach to promoting physical activity. In January 2007, the School of Physical Education & Exercise Science in the College of Education at The University of South Florida, in cooperation with iTECH Fitness of Denver, Colorado, partnered to create the first university exergaming fitness research lab for children. The purpose of the XRKade Research Lab was to investigate the growing movement related to assisting children in becoming physically active and increasing fitness levels through use of technology-based interactive game activities. A variety of pilot research studies have been conducted in the lab, providing critical data related to the success of this approach. This initiative advanced the field by placing exergaming in a real world setting where its impact on physical activity levels, physical fitness, and weight management was measured.
A new paradigm is needed to motivate today's children to be more physically active. Called the "Gamer Generation", these students number ninety million children who grew up playing video games and using other complex technological devices. Traditional fitness regimens no longer capture children’s attention or maintain their interest (Beck & Wade, 2006, p. xii). To better meet their preferences, traditional physical education and fitness activities are being replaced with the more contemporary, student-friendly approach - "exergaming". Whereas exergaming is being disseminated through our nation's schools, its real potential to enhance fitness and prevent obesity among youth has yet to be realized. Barriers to its dissemination include many teachers' and school administrators' lack of familiarity with technologically based physical activity and the tendency to blame technology for the current obesity crisis. The goal of this project was to assess the potential to use exergaming to capitalize on youth's fascination with technology and counter the impact "screen time" has had on physical activity levels.
The College of Public Health at the University of South Florida is the parent organization for the Florida Prevention Research Center and is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement number 1-U48-DP-000062. The department home for the Florida Prevention Research Center is Community and Family Health. Findings, conclusions, and comments on this web site are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please direct questions about this webpage to firstname.lastname@example.org.