Grantee Research

Impact of Physical Activity on Fitness & Academic Performance

Dr. Zan Gao, Texas Tech University

“Integrating DDR to Promote Urban Latino School Children’s Physical Health and Academic Achievement: Project GAME”

This Salud America! pilot research study examines the impact of a structured exercise program (e.g., the interactive video game Dance Dance Revolution [DDR], during which players stomp on a dance mat to mimic the steps of an on-screen dancer; aerobic dance; jump rope; etc.) on physical fitness and academic performance among urban Latino children. The study compared physical fitness levels and reading and math test scores of students who participated in the exercise intervention (with DDR) to those in a comparison group. Fitness was measured using the FITNESSGRAM test, including a 1-mile run and body mass index (BMI) assessment. Academic performance was measured using the students’ reading and math scores from the Utah Performance Assessment System’s Criterion-Referenced Tests. The study also conducted in-depth student interviews assessing students’ experience in the exercise program.

Research Category: Latino Schools