Lots of people ask us if Zamzee really works. This week, we received strong validation of Zamzee’s ability to make real change in getting kids moving. HopeLab and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released new research from a six-month scientific study of Zamzee amongst middle school students across America. The results? Zamzee increased physical activity in kids by 59% and reduced biological risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes.
Let’s explain this exciting news in a little more detail, shall we?
First off, you probably want to know more about the study. HopeLab gave Zamzee activity meters to 448 middle school kids enrolled in the study from urban, suburban and rural schools across the U.S. Half of the study participants (the control group) just had a Zamzee meter to track their physical activity, but they didn’t have access to the motivational website. The other half of the study participants had a Zamzee meter AND access to the motivational website. Bet you can guess which group had more fun!
After six months of kids moving around with Zamzee, the final Point was earned, the last upload was completed, and HopeLab crunched the numbers. And the results? The group that had access to the Zamzee website moved a whopping 59% more than the control group – which is approximately an extra 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. Hold your horses, everyone, it gets even more exciting! Kids who were really at risk for sedentary behavior got moving, too. Overweight participants (BMI >25) increased their activity by 27%, and girls increased their activity by 103%! Zamzee is really working for these kids.
So what exactly does 45 minutes of MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity) per week mean? Dr. Steve Cole, the UCLA and HopeLab Ph.D. researcher who led this study, explained it to us. He says there’s this thing called METS (e.g., metabolic equivalent), which is a way to measure your energy output. It’s like horsepower, but for humans instead of cars. The Zamzee kids moved an extra 45 minutes per week at 4.6 METS (we know their METS output because Zamzee measures the intensity of your physical activity). But those are just numbers. What does all that extra activity look like?
An extra 45 minutes per week at 4.6 METS is like:
- Doing non-stop pushups for 45 minutes each week.
- Scrubbing the floors for 3 hours per month.
- Chasing wild pigs for 6 minutes every single day. Really!
Hard to believe, huh? Pushups, chores, chasing pigs – everything’s more fun with Zamzee!
HopeLab also measured some biological factors associated with diseases linked to sedentary behavior. The results are pretty exciting. In the study, participants in the Zamzee fun group not only increased their physical activity, they showed reduced gains in LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the bad kind, the one that’s a risk factor for heart disease. Kids also showed improved blood sugar control (HbA1c), a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Bottom line: Zamzee is a research-proven program that get kids moving. HopeLab’s research shows that Zamzee really does work. It also gives us an opportunity to come up with fun new metaphors. Speaking of which, why don’t you look up the Compendium of Physical Activity? (That’s where scientists log the METS for all sorts of different exercises.) Can you come up with a metaphor for 45 minutes of extra physical activity per week? Tell us your favorites in the comments!
P.S. Want to know more about this research? Read this press release by HopeLab and check out this presentation, which is full of fun graphs and numbers. Seeing is believing!
 The study was designed by Steve Cole, Ph.D, Vice President of Research and Development at HopeLab and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and sponsored by HopeLab and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.