USF Active Gaming Research in Spotlight

President Obama’s fitness director to address educators, tour USF’s active gaming research lab at Belle Witter Elementary.



By Mary Beth Erskine News Writer


TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2010) – From Wii Fit to Dance, Dance Revolution, interactive fitness, known as active gaming has added a new dimension to once sedentary video gaming, opening the door to an innovative and effective method for combating childhood obesity.

Experts at the University of South Florida who have been on the leading edge of active gaming research will have the opportunity to showcase their findings for the nation’s top physical fitness director, Shellie Pfohl, when she visits Tampa on Thursday, Nov. 18.

President Obama named Pfohl as director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition earlier this year. She leads the efforts related to First Lady Michelle Obama’s national “Let’s Move” campaign to solve childhood obesity.

Pfohl will be in town to deliver the keynote address at the USF College of Education’s 14th Annual Education in Action Luncheon. USF’s Education in Action luncheon brings together hundreds of community leaders and educators in an effort to increase awareness of the importance of partnerships among the college, K-12 schools in the Tampa Bay area and community.

Work conducted by the College of Education’s School of Physical Education and Exercise Science related to childhood obesity and active gaming (the use of technology to promote physical activity), will be highlighted during the event.

Prior to delivering the keynote address at the luncheon, which will take place at the Florida State Fairgrounds at noon, Pfohl will tour USF’s active gaming research lab located at Belle Witter Elementary School at 9 a.m. The school, located at 10801 N. 22nd St. Tampa, serves as a research and outreach program of the USF College of Education’s active gaming labs.

“Active gaming is gaining in popularity around the country,” said Lisa Hansen, assistant professor in the School of Physical Education and Exercise Science and co-director of the active gaming research labs at USF. “We are proud to be one of the first to not only embrace this contemporary movement, but research active gaming in order to learn more about the potential technology has in turning children on to daily physical activity.” 

“Research shows that daily physical activity can improve academic performance,” added Stephen Sanders, professor and director of the School of Physical Education and Exercise Science and co-director of the active gaming research labs. “Together, we can put research into action to develop active, healthy kids.”

“Children learn best when they are having fun. Active gaming provides children a fun environment in which to play and learn,” said Colleen S. Kennedy, dean of the USF College of Education. “We are proud to have one of the first university research labs dedicated to investigating how use of technology can improve children’s physical fitness and help prevent obesity.”

For more information about the Education in Action Luncheon, click here.

Mary Beth Erskine can be reached at 813-974-6993.