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

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Mar;44(3 Suppl 3):S240-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.11.023.


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 (χ(2)((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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Video Games*