Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 5:30 EDT

CCA develops first virtual world powered exclusively by kids’ real world activity

May 1, 2012

TORONTO, May 1, 2012 /CNW/ – Concerned Children’s Advertisers (CCA)
today announced the development of a first-ever interactive experience
that uses kids’ daily exercise as the sole energy source for playing an
online game. The project, which involves equipping youth with a digital
pedometer that tracks and uploads their every step, is being tested
with a pilot group of 250 kids in communities across Canada.

“CCA has a 22-year track record for developing innovative social
marketing campaigns on issues that impact Canadian youth well-being,”
says CCA president, Bev Deeth.  “With an estimated 1 in 4 Canadian kids
considered overweight or obese, this is a big problem in need of a
creative solution.”  Deeth explains that the game concept is the result
of CCA youth research that found a strong correlation between
motivation and innovation. “Kids told us that while they recognize the
importance of leading a healthy, active life, this alone will not move
them to take action. They need innovative programming to help motivate

The goal of the pilot (called The Living Experience) is to examine whether gaming, a favourite youth pastime, can be used
as a motivator to change sedentary behaviour and measurably increase
physical activity levels.  Participants’ steps are tracked by a digital
pedometer and then uploaded to an online game (GOGOYU), where youth
create a personal avatar that uses their banked steps to travel within
a virtual world. Developed by ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Canada, the game features physical challenges, real world landmarks,
and nutritional information presented in a creative way. A built-in
timer limits game play to 20 minutes per day.

Participants’ activity levels will be monitored over a six-week period
to gauge changes or improvements.  Results of the pilot will be
evaluated by researchers at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of
Kinesiology and Physical Activity.

Michelle Brownrigg, director of Physical Activity and Equity, University
of Toronto, explains that existing research only examines how screens
reduce physical activity levels.  “There is very little research on the
degree to which screen time could be a motivator for everyday physical
activity, or what form this could take. This project connects what is
traditionally a passive online gaming experience, to something more
interactive that actually requires kids to go outside and do real

Deeth feels the results of this initiative offer a possible solution to
address the alarming rates of youth sedentary behaviour. “It’s a new
way of looking at gaming that could potentially revolutionize the way
youth physical activity programming is promoted and developed.”

For more information, CP photos, or to view a sample of the game: www.cca-kids.ca.

Fast Facts

        --  Only 9 per cent of boys and 4 per cent of girls meet the daily
            requirements of 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity
            physical activity per day.
        --  Total daily sedentary time for Canadian children and youth
            averages 62 per cent of their waking hours.

About CCA

Concerned Children’s Advertisers (CCA) is a unique non-profit
organization and model of corporate social responsibility. Comprised of
19 Canadian Member Companies and supported by numerous partners,
including child-centred advertisers, broadcasters and issue experts,
CCA is committed to understanding and contributing solutions to issues
of challenge in children’s lives. As committed Canadian advertisers,
CCA’s mission is to be the credible, caring and authoritative voice of
responsible children’s advertising and communications. www.cca-kids.ca

SOURCE Concerned Children’s Advertisers

Source: PR Newswire