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Is Open Access

GiggleBat: Enhancing Playing and Outdoor Culture in Australian Children

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Proceedings of the 30th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI)


11 - 15 July 2016

Sports, Play and Learn, Arduino, Children, Cricket, Exergames

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      This paper reports on an ongoing design-based research project aiming to improve the physical and social development of children between the ages of 3-5 with tangible interactive sport based play. The project pursues design, evaluation and implementation of an interactive sports toy: GiggleBat that merges benefits of co-design, HCI and user-centred design (assisted by Arduino sensor technology and 3D Prototyping), together with current Australian playing and sporting culture. The final add-on product serves from established rules and adds value to games of cricket, and potentially tennis and golf by enhancing prompting, information and feedback. We report on our design experience of GiggleBat and evaluation results from a series of focus groups with parents and an observation session with children. We conclude with a future road map for the product.

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        Overweight, obesity and girth of Australian preschoolers: prevalence and socio-economic correlates.

        (1) To determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australian 4-5-year-old children. (2) To investigate associations between socio-economic characteristics and (a) overweight/obesity and (b) waist circumference. Cross-sectional population survey. Wave 1 (2004) of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Nationally representative sample of 4983 4-5-year-old children (2537 boys and 2446 girls; mean age 56.9 months (s.d. 2.64 months; range 51-67 months)). Prevalence of overweight and obesity (International Obesity TaskForce definitions) and waist circumference (cm). Prevalence estimates were obtained as weighted percentages. Uni- and multivariable ordinal logistic regression (using the proportional odds model) were used to assess associations between potential predictors and the risk of higher child body mass index status and a multivariable linear regression model to assess relationships between the same potential predictors and waist circumference. 15.2% of Australian preschoolers are estimated to be overweight and 5.5% obese. In univariate analyses, seven of the 12 variables were associated with higher odds of being in a heavier body mass index category. In a multivariable regression model, speaking a language other than English (particularly for boys), indigenous status and lower disadvantage quintile were the clearest independent predictors of higher body mass index status, with children in the lowest quintile of social disadvantage having 47% higher odds (95% CI 14, 92%) of being in a heavier body mass index category compared to those in the highest quintile. Waist circumference was not related to any socio-economic variable. This nationally representative survey confirms high rates of overweight and obesity in preschoolers throughout Australia. The recent emergence of a substantial socio-economic gradient should bring new urgency to public health measures to combat the obesity epidemic.
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          Can exergaming contribute to improving physical activity levels and health outcomes in children?

           Amanda Daley (2009)
          Physical inactivity among children is a serious public health problem. It has been suggested that high levels of screen time are contributory factors that encourage sedentary lifestyles in young people. As physical inactivity and obesity levels continue to rise in young people, it has been proposed that new-generation active computer- and video-console games (otherwise known as "exergaming") may offer the opportunity to contribute to young people's energy expenditure during their free time. Although studies have produced some encouraging results regarding the energy costs involved in playing active video-console games, the energy costs of playing the authentic versions of activity-based video games are substantially larger, highlighting that active gaming is no substitute for real sports and activities. A small number of exergaming activities engage children in moderate-intensity activity, but most do not. Only 3 very small trials have considered the effects of exergaming on physical activity levels and/or other health outcomes in children. Evidence from these trials has been mixed; positive trends for improvements in some health outcomes in the intervention groups were noted in 2 trials. No adequately powered randomized, controlled trial has been published to date, and no trial has assessed the long-term impact of exergaming on children's health. We now need high-quality randomized, controlled trials to evaluate the effectiveness and sustainability of exergaming, as well as its clinical relevance; until such studies take place, we should remain cautious about its ability to positively affect children's health.

            Author and article information

            School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics

            Western Sydney University

            School of Computing, Electronics and Maths, Coventry University

            CV1 2JH

            July 2016
            July 2016
            : 1-10
            © Mubin et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of British HCI 2016 Conference Fusion, Bournemouth, UK

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

            Proceedings of the 30th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference
            Bournemouth University, Poole, UK
            11 - 15 July 2016
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            Product Information: 1477-9358 BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (journal page):
            Electronic Workshops in Computing


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