Research Grant Brings Local School High-Tech Fitness

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2009) –  The University of South Florida is using a grant from the Centers for Disease Control to provide a new, state-of-the art XRKade “active gaming” room to fifth graders at Belle Witter Elementary School in Tampa. It includes video-enabled bikes, XRBoards, Dance Dance Revolution and other games that combine technology with fitness and fun to be used in physical education classes.

The school, located at 10801 N. 22nd St., Tampa, will serve as a research and outreach program of USF’s  XRKade Research Lab in the College of Education.

“The Belle Witter kids will play on some of our coolest XRKade equipment,” said Mike Hansen, CEO of iTech Fitness of Aurora, Colo., developer of the XRKade active gaming concept.  “Through our partnership with USF, we’re learning how combining exercise with video games motivates kids to get moving.”

The original XRKade Research Lab opened in January 2007 at USF.  Hosting XRKade equipment at a nearby school will enable USF students and faculty to take a case study research approach, observing kids in their everyday environment. Fifth graders at Belle Witter will enroll in an eight-week qualitative study to capture students’ initial experiences with the XRKade equipment and how they change over time.
 
“We chose fifth graders because research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that the biggest decline in physical activity occurs in 9- and 10-year olds,” said USF doctoral student Lisa Hansen, who co-directs the research program. “They think that games are fun, but exercise is work. When kids use active gaming equipment, we can get them to think, ‘This can’t be exercise. It’s too much fun.’”

About iTech Fitness
iTech Fitness develops, manufactures and markets the fitness, recreation and entertainment industries’ most comprehensive active gaming product suite. The XRKade brand was first to market and is driving a fundamental shift in consumer mindsets by making fitness fun. For more information, visit www.itechfitness.com <http://www.itechfitness.com> or www.xrkade.com <http://www.xrkade.com>  or call 303-371-5800.
 
The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

– USF –