Category Archives: Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory

Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory researchers present at ACSM’s 64th Annual Meeting

Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory - logoZan Gao, Ph.D.,  associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the  Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL), together with his doctoral students June Lee, Zachary Pope, and Nan Zeng, took part in the American College of Sport Medicine’s (ACSM) 64th Annual Meeting in Denver, CO, held May 30-June 3. At the conference, the lab members presented their research:

Gao, Z., Li, X.X., Zeng, N., Pope, Z., Yang, H.H., Liu, W.F., Xiong, H., Chen, Y.T., Li, J., & He, W. (2017, June). Accuracy of smartwatches in assessing college students’ energy expenditure in exercise with different intensities.

Lee, J., Pope, Z., Zeng, N., Zhang. Y., & Gao, Z. (2017, June). Associations among objectively-determined physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive function in preschool children.

Pope, Z., Zeng, N., & Gao, Z. (2017, June). Effects of mhealth apps on physical activity and weight loss outcomes: A meta-analysis.

Pope, Z., Zeng, N., Liao, N., Han, C.Y., & Gao, Z. (2017, June). Predicting biomarkers through affordable fitness band in Chinese breast cancer survivors.

Zeng, N., Li, X.X., Yang, H.M., Liu, W.F., Xiong, H., Chen, Y.T., & Gao, Z. (2017, June). The effects of different types of exercise on Chinese college students’ energy expenditure.

Zeng, N., Han, C.Y., Liao, N., & Gao, Z. (2017, June). Examining the relationships among Chinese breast cancer survivors’ psychosocial outcomes and physical fitness.

 

Gao’s research on exergaming highlighted in CEHD Vision 2020 blog

School of Kinesiology associate professor Zan Gao, Ph.D., has written an article on his work related to the positive health outcomes of fitness technology and exergaming on the CEHD Vision 2020 blog.

His research shows that replacing younger students’ “screen time” on tablets or computers with apps for exercise games can be as effective as physical education classes.

Gao emphasizes that exercise games on the computer do not replace time playing outside or the traditional physical education curriculum. Instead, he says, “we hope that active, fitness-oriented apps and games can replace sedentary time young people spend using tablets, watching television or playing traditional games – not physical activities like sports, biking or outside play.”

“Exercise games are not just a fad,” says Gao,  “and can be part of our approach to capturing the attention of students who are not drawn to athletics and physical education.”

Gao is director of the School’s Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory.

 

Gao is co-investigator on NIH grant to study physical activity in older adults

Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory in the School of Kinesiology, recently collaborated with researchers from the U of M and successfully secured a 5-year NIH R21/33 research grant as a co-investigator. The project titled “Mindful Movement for Physical Activity and Wellbeing in Older Adults: A Community Based Randomized Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Study” (1R21AT009110-01A1) will be led by Dr. Roni Evans, Research Director of the Integrative Health & Wellbeing Research Program at the Center for Spirituality and Healing.

Physical inactivity has reached pandemic proportions and is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. Of particular concern is that most middle to older age adults fall far short of recommendations for health-enhancing physical activities. This project takes a novel approach to tackling this problem by combining mindfulness with behavioral strategies in a unique ‘Mindful Movement’ program offered through YMCA community facilities. Gao will serve as the physical activity assessment specialist in the team to lead the measurement of the primary outcome – older adults’ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Gao and students publish book on technology, physical activity, and health promotion

Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, recently published a book titled “Technology in Physical Activity and Health Promotion” together with his graduate students Jung Eun Lee, Zachary PopeHaichun Sun, and Nan Zeng with Routledge publishers.

Offering a logical and clear critique of technology in physical activity and health promotion, this book will serve as an essential reference for upper-level undergraduates, postgraduate students and scholars working in public health, physical activity and health and kinesiology, and healthcare professionals.

The book is now available on the Routledge website and Amazon.com.

Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate Zachary Pope awarded U of M’s Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for 2017-18

Zachary Pope, Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate, has been awarded the prestigious University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for 2017-2018.

Zachary is advised by Kinesiology associate professor Zan Gao, Ph.D., and is a member of the School’s  Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory. His thesis is titled, “Use of Polar M400 to Improve Physical Activity and Eating Behaviors among College Students: A 12-week Randomized Pilot Study.”

The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) gives the University’s most accomplished Ph.D. candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to an outstanding research project by providing time to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship year.

Zachary is one of just 100 students across the University who received the award this year. Congratulations!

 

Gao serves as guest editor for special issue of Journal of Sport and Health Science

Zan Gao, Ph.D., Kinesiology associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, recently served as the Guest Editor for a special issue of Journal of Sport and Health Science titled “Promoting Physical Activity and Health through Exergaming.”

The purpose of this special topic is to investigate the effects of exergaming on individuals’ energy expenditure, physical activity participation, sedentary behaviors, actual and perceived motor skills, activity choices, behavioral changes and psychosocial beliefs through experimental and quasi-experimental designs. The special issue includes a total of four original articles, one review article, one editorial, and one commentary piece contributed by research scientists in the USA, Australia, France, and Belgium. The special issue is available at this link.

Pope awarded $1200 COGS Travel Grant to present at SHAPE America’s national convention 

Zachary Pope, Ph.D. candidate in the School of Kinesiology, has been awarded a $1200 Council of Graduate Students (COGS) Travel Grant to present two posters and give one oral presentation at the Society for Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America National Convention held in Boston March 14-18. Pope is advised by Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory.

COGS is a University-wide student organization that represents, advocates for, and supports graduate students at the U of M. The travel grant supports students who present original work at a conference with a poster, oral presentation, or other acceptable format.  The maximum award is $1200.

While at the SHAPE America Convention, Pope will also be awarded a 2017 Research Council Graduate Student Research Award by SHAPE America for his project, “Validity of Smartwatches in Assessing Energy Expenditure and Heart Rate.”

Gao and Lee publish paper in Computers in Human Behavior


Zan Gao, Ph.D
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, associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, recently published a paper in Computers in Human Behavior. The first author, Jung Eun Lee, is Dr. Gao’s Ph.D. student and currently an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The paper examined the acute effect of playing a single bout of active video games on children’s mood change and whether mood change differed by gender and age group. The researchers found that a short bout of active video games significantly reduced anger, depression and vigor, and fourth grade children had greater vigor than the third graders.

Lee, J., Xiang, P., & Gao, Z. (2017). Acute effect of active video games on older children’s mood change. Computers in Human Behavior, 70, 97-103. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.060 (impact factor: 2.69)

Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory researchers publish in Journal of Sport and Health Science and Preventive Medicine 

Doctoral students Nan Zeng, Zachary Pope, June Lee, and associate professor Zan Gao, Ph.D., from the School of Kinesiology, recently published an article titled “A systematic review of active video games on rehabilitative outcomes among older patients” in Journal of Sport and Health Science. Mr. Zeng is the lead author on the article. The study systematically reviewed literature, summarized findings, and evaluated the effectiveness of Active Video Games (AVGs) as a therapeutic tool in improving physical, psychological, and cognitive rehabilitative outcomes among older adults with chronic diseases. The study found AVGs have potential in rehabilitation for older patients, though more research is warranted to make more definitive conclusions.

In addition, Zachary Pope published “The effects of active video games on patients’ rehabilitative outcomes: A meta-analysis” recently in Preventive Medicine. Co-authors are Nan Zeng and Zan Gao, Ph.D. The review examined the effectiveness of active video games in rehabilitation settings. When compared to traditional rehabilitation methods, findings indicated active video games to have a large positive effect on balance control in youth/young adults and a moderate positive effect on older adults’ falls efficacy. More research is needed, however, particularly as pertains to the use of active video gaming in cognitive rehabilitation.

Dr. Zan Gao
Dr. Zan Gao
Nan Zeng
Nan Zeng
Zachary Pope
Zachary Pope
June Lee
June Lee

Pope awarded SHAPE America’s 2017 Research Council Graduate Student Research Award

Zach PopeZachary Pope, Ph.D. student and graduate assistant in the School of Kinesiology, was awarded a 2017 Research Council Graduate Student Research Award by SHAPE America for his project, “Validity of Smartwatches in Assessing Energy Expenditure and Heart Rate.” Pope is advised by Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor of physical activity and health in Kinesiology.
The Graduate Student Research Award is given to an outstanding author and presenter of a research program for the SHAPE America national convention. The award is intended to recognize and encourage graduate student scholarship.  Pope also was awarded a SHAPE America Graduate Student Grant in 2015 for his research project, “Promoting Physical Activity through Smartphone Apps in Overweight/Obese College Students.”

PAEL featured in CE+HD Connect Magazine

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Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab (PAEL), is featured in the current issue of the College of Education and Human Develpment’s CE+HD Connect Magazine.

Gao and his research team use technology to increase health in children and adults by encouraging movement. Read the entire story titled “Motivation to Move!

 

 

 

 

 

Gao to publish two first-authored papers in Journal of Sport and Health Science

gao-zan-2012Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, will publish two first-authored papers in the Journal of Sport and Health Science (impact factor: 1.72).

In the first editorial paper, Dr. Gao comments on the role of active video games in promoting physical activity and health. According to this editorial, although sedentary video games present negative effects to a healthy and active lifestyle, active video games have a great possibility of facilitating physical activity promotion. Health professionals are striving to “fight fire with fire” — attempting to apply active video games to promoting physical activity and health. Notably, as a result of the work of professionals in the past decade, active video games have made marked contributions to the understanding and promotion of physical activity behaviors among various populations.

The second paper examines the effect of exergaming on children’s sedentary behavior, light physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and energy expenditure over two years as compared with regular physical education classes. It was found that exergaming can have the same positive effect on children’s light physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and energy expenditure as does regular physical education.

Gao, Z. (in press). Fight fire with fire: Promoting physical activity and health through active video games. Journal of Sport and Health Science.

Gao, Z., Pope, Z., Lee, J., Stodden, D., Roncesvalles, N., Pasco, D., Huang, C., & Feng, D. (in press). Impact of exergaming on young children’s school day energy expenditure and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels. Journal of Sport and Health Science.

 

Gao and students publish two papers in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health

gao-zan-2012Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, recently published two papers with his students in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.

The first paper, “Effect of SPARK on students’ physical activity, motivation and cardiovascular fitness in physical education” examines the effect of a 9-week SPARK program on physical activity, cardiorespiratory endurance (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run), and motivation in middle-school students. The researchers found that, following the intervention, SPARK displayed greater increases on physical activity and motivation measures in younger students compared with the Traditional program. The first author, You Fu, is Dr. Gao’s previous PhD student and currently Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada at Reno.

The second paper, “Young children’s energy expenditure and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on weekdays and weekends” was funded by NIH with June Lee serving as the first author. This study explores children’s estimated energy expenditure rates and time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in three-time segments: at-school, after-school, and weekends. It was found that children’s energy expenditure rate and minutes in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day were higher during after school and weekends than at school. Yet, children’s moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during weekdays and weekends still fell far short of the recommended level of 60 minutes/day.

 

 

Gao, Lee, and Pope have study published in Games for Health Journal

Director of the School of Kinesiology’s Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, Zan Gao,  Ph.D., and doctoral students/co-authors June Lee and Zachary Pope, had a recent study published in Games for Health Journal.

The study investigated the effect of school-based active video games on underserved minority children’s on-task classroom behavior, academic effort, and cardiovascular fitness over the course of a 6-week intervention. Findings indicated children’s on-task classroom behavior and academic effort to increase significantly over time. However, while improvements in cardiovascular fitness were seen over time, these improvements were not significant. Nonetheless, findings indicated that a school-based active video gaming program may be able to promote improved classroom behavior and academic effort–possibly by decreasing children’s self-stimulated behavior following gameplay. Read the full article here.

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June Lee
Dr. Zan Gao
Dr. Zan Gao
PopeZ-2014
Zachary Pope

PAEL appears on ISBNPA’s Meet Your Neighbor column

GaoZan-2013The International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) recently featured a video to its “Meet Your Neighbor” media column showcasing the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL), directed by Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology. The video highlights some of the outreach done by PAEL, including the development of exergaming laboratories in local schools.

ISBNPA has an international presence with nearly 900 members representing 40 countries (numbers from May 2016). Its mission is to stimulate, promote and advocate innovative research and policy in the area of behavioral nutrition and physical activity toward the betterment of human health worldwide.

Gao receives NIH grant to study exergaming among preschool children

gao-zan-2012Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, has received a one-year, $370,000 research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study exergaming play among preschool children.

The project is entitled “Trial of Exergaming Activities on Cognition and Health in Preschoolers – Project TEACH”. It is designed to examine the impact of a child-led and instructor-supervised exergaming intervention in promoting preschool children’s physical activity levels, fitness, movement skills and cognition, compared to a traditional usual care control program at four schools in Minnesota. Gao and his research team will initiate the research project in fall of 2016.

PAEL researchers Zeng and Gao publish article, book chapter

Nan Zeng
Nan Zeng

Doctoral student Nan Zeng and Zan Gao, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab (PAEL), recently published an article entitled “Exergaming and obesity in youth: current perspectives.” in the International Journal of General Medicine. The study found exergaming, or playing video games that are also a form of exercise, has the potential to attenuate weight gain and shows promise when used for physical activity and physical fitness promotion.

Read the full study here.

Dr. Zan Gao
Dr. Zan Gao

Under the direction of Dr. Gao, Mr. Zeng also published a chapter titled “Effects of exergaming on fundamental movement skills among children and young adults: A systematic review” in the book Gaming: Trends, Perspectives and Impact on Health. This chapter systematically synthesized and critiqued literature on exergaming in light of the tenets of motor skill development, and went on to elaborate the potentials of exergaming that could contribute to improving the motor skill competence of children and young adults.

Gao named Foreign Outstanding Instructor at Hunan University

Dr. Zan Gao
Dr. Zan Gao

Zan Gao, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab (PAEL), has been selected Foreign Outstanding Instructor by Hunan University in Changsha, China.

Hunan University is a top tier research university in China, ranking number 17 in the nation. During his appointment tenure, Gao delivered a graduate course titled “Frontiers in Physical Activity and Health” to approximately 30 graduate students during June and July.

During his stay in China, Gao delivered research talks at other top universities, including Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Beijing Sports University.

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Gao selected as a national high-end expert for China

Dr. Zan Gao
Dr. Zan Gao

Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab (PAEL), has recently been appointed as a high-end foreign expert on Physical Activity Epidemiology by the People’s Republic of China for 2016.

During his appointment tenure, Gao will be based at the Hunan Normal University (Changsha, China) and will stay in China for one month during the summer. As a professor who promotes physical activity and health through innovative emerging technologies, Gao will be part of the first few in his field to be awarded the prestigious honor by China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. The position was created by the government of China particularly to attract highly accomplished foreign professionals who promote scientific development disciplines, innovation, and cultural exchange.

During his stay, Gao will deliver a series of lectures in physical activity epidemiology and help the university establish the emerging discipline in physical activity epidemiology. He will also offer seminars and workshops to the faculty and students, as well as train the faculty and graduate students in conducting cutting-edge research. Gao is an alumni of Hunan Normal University, where he received his bachelor degree in physical education.

Gao speaks at Harvard School of Public Health

Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab (PAEL), gave an invited lecture at Harvard School of Public Health on June 2, 2016. He delivered a 30-minute talk, Merging Technology in Promoting Physical Activity and Health, to a group of faculty from Harvard School of Public Health and a delegation from China Institute of Sports Science.

Dr. Zan Gao
Dr. Zan Gao