ISU Researchers Use Video Games to Bridge Generational Gap, Get Older Adults Moving

LIFE programAMES, Iowa – People are living longer, but not necessarily living healthier, and that is something a group of Iowa State University professors wants to change. They hope to accomplish that goal by using video games to promote fitness and encouraging older adults to get active.

With the help of ISU Extension and Outreach, the research team has piloted the “Living well through Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise” (or LIFE) program in several Iowa communities. The program is aimed at reaching older adults in rural areas who are isolated or do not have access to a gym.

“Our program is really focused on whole-person wellness. We want to include that socialization aspect with the physical activity,” said Jennifer Margrett, an associate professor of human development and family studies and director of the gerontology program. “By socializing and doing interactive games, older adults are also exercising their brains, building relationships, and so it helps in more than one way.”

Based on success of the pilot program, researchers have launched a new website so that the program can be implemented anywhere. The most successful partnerships match student trainers with a group of older adults.

See the complete story from Iowa State University News Service.


Jennifer Margrett, Human Development and Family Studies, 515-294-3028,
Warren Franke, Kinesiology, 515-294-8257,
Sarah Francis, Food Science and Human Nutrition, 515-294-1456,
Angie Hunt, News Service, 515-294-8986,