Our friends over at HopeLab are cooking up their next project – particularly with their Zamzee product. For those of you unaware, Zamzee is basically a small device (which integrates into a gamified website) that kids can carry around to measure their physical activity levels and get rewards for it.
Think of it as: digital pedometer + game mechanics + online rewards shop.
With the issue of childhood obesity and declining physical activity among young people continuing to be an important issue, tools and technologies have emerged over the past few years to provide solutions. As with anything new/innovative, the question of effectiveness quickly comes to the surface – especially in the burgeoning health gaming landscape. Well, the Zamzee team aims to shed light on how they are making a difference.
Yesterday, Zamzee released the result of a study they conducted over six months which sampled 448 middle school aged youth from urban to rural environments across the country. 50% of the participants used the Zamzee tool and its accompanying website database, which allows kids to view their activity levels, earn points for movement, achieve goals, and select rewards – all helping to motivate them to increased activity. The other half of participants in the control group received the Zamzee activity meter but had no access to the motivational website.
The kids using the Zamzee activity meter and the website showed a 59% increase in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Other results included a 102% increase in MVPA demonstrated with girls. Participants who consistently used Zamzee also showed improved blood sugar control (HbA1c), a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
In a world where too much technology is being blamed for the increase in sedentary lifestyles for youth, HopeLab and Zamzee aim to show that it can be helpful in reversing some of these adverse trends. “These results also show that Zamzee can increase physical activity enough to improve some of the key biological processes that underlie the long-term disease risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle”, says Steve Cole, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development at HopeLab and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles
“As more and more people discover Zamzee, we consistently hear from kids and families that it’s a fun, engaging way to make physical activity a regular part of their daily lives,” said Lance Henderson, CEO of Zamzee. “These new data show that Zamzee is also an effective way to improve health, which is inspiring to us and our partners as we work to put Zamzee into the hands of kids and families across the U.S.”