MORGANTOWN, VA — Interactive video games could help improve the fitness level of children. Preliminary results of 12 weeks of an at-home clinical study indicate significant improvement in arterial function and fitness levels among the 7- to 12-year-old participants of a program that uses interactive video games.

Two West Virginia University (WVU) professors studied Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) and Choosy Kids Club, an after-school health program for children that is part of the West Virginia Motor Development Center in WVU's School of Physical Education.

After the trial period, participating children were more willing to participate in other physical activities, had higher self esteem and better coordination. Additionally, many parents and siblings got involved in DDR with their participating child.

The university showcased the study at WVU's Mountaineer Fan Center at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel in Jacksonville, FL, two days before the Toyota Gator Bowl on Jan. 1. Professor of physical education and study researcher Linda Carson gave fans a facilitated lesson at the top of each hour, followed by group participation. The Fan Center featured four DDR TV-monitored set-ups with dance mats, along with one giant screen projection of the game for multiple users.