The obesity issues among underserved children from low socioeconomic status continue to be a concern in the United States partly due to physical inactivity. 1 It is also becoming increasingly evident that the development of motor skill competence is related to physical activity and health-related physical fitness levels.2 Interactive video games have recently been introduced into public schools as an innovative strategy to help promote physical activity participation and health among children, especially for underserved children who spend more time playing sedentary video games.3, 4 However, the long-term effects of interactive video games on physical activity, health-related physical fitness, motor skil competence and perceived competence is not known. This 3-year project is designed to examine the impact of interactive video games (e.g., Wii Dance Dance Revolution, Wii Fit) on underserved children's physical activity participation and health-related fitness, as well as the gender effect on the outcome variables. The project also will investigate the mediating effects of perceived competence on relations between motor skill competence, physical activity, and health-related physical fitness. Additionally, the project will explore children's perceptions and experiences with interactive video games to better delineate mechanisms underlying physical activity participation using this type of activity. A total of 360 second and third grade children 7-9 years old) will be recruited from four Title I elementary schools in Lubbock County, Texas. Over 75% of participants will come from economically disadvantaged families. After collection of the baseline data, all participants will be assigned to one of two groups by school: (1) two sessions of 45-minute interactive video games a week at school (intervention group), and (2) no interactive video games or other structured exercises at school beyond physical education (control group). Outcome variables include: 1) students'daily physical activity levels, 2) health-related physical fitness (e.g., cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index, percent of body fat), 3 motor skill competence, 4) perceived competence, and 5) children's perceptions and experiences of the games. These variables will be collected at the end of each school year. Mixed model ANCOVAs will be employed to examine the differences in outcome variables over the course of study. Hierarchical Linear Modeling will also be used to analyze the growth curve trajectories of intra-individual change in the outcome variables and inter-individual differences i these trajectories that are related to the intervention and other covariates. Structural Equation Modeling will be employed to examine whether children's perceived competence will mediate the relationships between their motor skill competence, physical activity levels, and health-related physical fitness. Qualitative analysis software Atlas.ti and emerging theme analyses will be used to analyze the interview data regarding participants'perceptions and experiences with interactive video games. This project will provide a better understanding of the long-term impact of interactive video games on physical activity, fitness, motor skill competence, and perceived competence, as well as underlying mechanisms related to these critical variables. The outcomes of the project can inform health professionals concerning how to effectively promote underserved children's physical activity participation and physical fitness, and tackle and reverse the epidemic of obesity.
The proposed study is a longitudinal study to examine the impact of interactive video games on minority children's (7-9 years old) physical activity participation and health-related fitness, as well as the gender effect on the outcome variables. We are also testing a model within the intervention children to explain motor skill competence as a precursor for physical fitness and physical activity participation, with perceived motor competence as the mediating variable. Additionally, we are attempting to explore children's perceptions and experiences with interactive video games.