Researchers: 'What motivates kids to make healthy choices?'

TIGER Kids Research Study seeking additional kid participants
Published: Mar. 5, 2018 at 6:15 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2018 at 1:00 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU researchers are on a mission to help kids move more and sit less. LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center is assigning fitness tracking tools to participants in the TIGER Kids Research Study. They hope to figure out how to use technology to help encourage kids to be physically active.

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Dr. Amanda Staiano, PhD, MPP, Assistant Professor Director, Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory, says kids in Baton Rouge aren't getting enough physical activity.

"They should get about one hour of physical activity per day and less than 10 percent are getting that much."

She says they need to figure out what is preventing kids from getting physical activity and what they can do about it.

The kid participants wear an activity monitor with GPS tracking for seven days during each study period. Study participant Jerry Walker, 14, described the tracker as a big band he wears around his waist.

Research specialist Adam Lowe says the fitness tracker is equipped with an accelerometer that measures the intensity of physical activity from vigorous to moderate, and light to sedentary, and for how long.

Participants also download an app that sends them questions throughout the day to help researchers identify what motivates the kids to make healthy choices.

"They let us know what are they doing, who are they hanging out with, how are they getting activity or what's preventing them from getting physical activity," said Dr. Staiano.

Two years later, the participants will be scheduled for the second study period. Through the study, researchers hope to use all the collected data to develop better programs and interventions for kids.

The study will evaluate ways to increase kids' physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior, encourage healthy eating, and assess other factors that may influence school performance, body image, stress, and mood.

"With the data we're collecting from TIGER Kids, we can start to figure out key points in their day that kids might be able to be more physically active," said Dr. Staiano.

"I found that I could do a lot more stuff inside, not just outside to help me stay active," said Walker.

"Just sitting around the house and playing a game or something is not going to help you in life.  Being active can help your body, your mind, everything, said study participant Aria Marie Davis, 13.

Applicants are still being accepted. Researchers have room for 60 more kids to sign up in the next few months. They are specifically looking for kids and teenagers that struggle with their weight.

TIGER Kids Study participants must be between 10 and 16-years-old and cannot be on a restrictive diet. Parents can apply online or contact research recruiters by calling 225-763-3000.


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