Friday, February 7, 2014

Can children with DCD improve balance with Wii Fit? #exergame study

Can exergaming with Wii Fit improve balance in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder? Researchers in Belgium found that when compared to children with no balance coordination issues, 28 children were able to improve balance measures over a six-week intervention using Wii Fit games for 30-minute sessions three times per week. After playing each of the available 18 games twice, children were then allowed to play any of the games besides the pre-test/post-test slalom game. Pre-post tests results (Wii Fit Slalom, MABC2, BOT2) revealed improved measures of balance for the exergame intervention group compared to the control group (typical development). The intervention was also enjoyed by almost all of the participants (see ExP2P for more details).


Exergaming Points 2 Ponder (ExP2P)

  • Like last week's post concerning the control group, this study compared and exergame group versus a normal population of children without DCD issues. I would consider this to be a limiting factor in their findings.
  • I would be interested in seeing if the control group did the 6 week intervention if their balance scores would improve similarly.
  • It would be interesting to see what impact other exergames that include more hand-eye coordination (Kinect Brain & Body Connection, EyeToy) as opposed to foot-eye/balance coordination (Wii Fit).
  • I would also wonder what more intense levels of physical activity (with a rhythm game like Dance Central or Just Dance) would do for cognitive function and mood in this population.
  • When it comes to enjoyment while playing exergames, especially during therapeutic modalities, the game, physical, social and emotional environment needs to be supportive and welcoming. Another aspect that often gets overlooked is that researchers rarely support the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) tenet of autonomy when designing interventions and may limit to more powerful findings.

Concluding Thoughts
As in last week's post of using Wii Fit to help children suffering from migraines, I think its important to envision any intervention or program that uses exergames or technology to support overall therapeutic or fitness goals. Even someone like me who loves exergames, I don't play them every day nor do I only play them for an entire workout. Sometimes I like to learn a new dance move (sequence) so I can "demo" for my students or kids and oftentimes I don't even fire up a game console and refer to the many Just Dance and Dance Central videos posted online.

Jelsma D, Geuze RH, Mombarg R, & Smits-Engelsman BC (2014). The impact of Wii Fit intervention on dynamic balance control in children with probable Developmental Coordination Disorder and balance problems. Human movement science PMID: 24444657
The aim of this study was to examine differences in the performance of children with probable Developmental Coordination Disorder (p-DCD) and balance problems (BP) and typical developing children (TD) on a Wii Fit task and to measure the effect on balance skills after a Wii Fit intervention. Twenty-eight children with BP and 20 TD-children participated in the study. Motor performance was assessed with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC2), three subtests of the Bruininks Oseretsky Test (BOT2): Bilateral Coordination, Balance and Running Speed & Agility, and a Wii Fit ski slalom test. The TD children and half of the children in the BP group were tested before and after a 6weeks non-intervention period. All children with BP received 6weeks of Wii Fit intervention (with games other than the ski game) and were tested before and afterwards. Children with BP were less proficient than TD children in playing the Wii Fit ski slalom game. Training with the Wii Fit improved their motor performance. The improvement was significantly larger after intervention than after a period of non-intervention. Therefore the change cannot solely be attributed to spontaneous development or test-retest effect. Nearly all children enjoyed participation during the 6weeks of intervention. Our study shows that Wii Fit intervention is effective and is potentially a method to support treatment of (dynamic) balance control problems in children.
Click here to explore more of ExerGame Lab's archived posts involving research studies. 

Enter your email address:

Delivered by TinyLetter