Research Highlights

The Food and Moves apps get kids up and moving!

  • During a study on Foods and Moves with children, the mobile apps were each played by children for 7 minutes and produced an average of 80% moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (PA) during the app play.
  • The apps produced equivalent or greater PA metrics compared to traditional physical education activities, demonstrating the possibility of mobile apps to make significant contributions to overall PA levels in preschool-aged children.

Parents like the apps and think they work! 

  • Nearly all parents (93%) in the study agreed that Jungle Gym 1 & 2 were likely to increase their children’s PA. For Spin-n-Move, 77% of parents thought that the app was likely to increase PA.
  • The majority of parents (63%) believed that the Tasting Party Express app was likely to help children try new foods.
  • Most parents rated the apps 4 or 5 stars (73–96%)

Using the Apps in Programming and Research

We encourage the use of our Foods & Moves apps in your own research project. We also encourage those who do so to acknowledge them by citing the relevant research article as well as the apps themselves.

For questions related to research instruments, methods and/or findings, please contact Dr. Laura Bellows (


Reyes, L.I., Johnson, S.L., Chamberlin, B., Bellows, L.L. (In Press). Engaging preschoolers in food tasting and movement activities using mobile apps. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Reyes, L.I., Johnson, S.L., Chamberlin, B., Mena, N.Z., Bellows, L.L. (2022). Acceptability of digital apps developed to engage preschoolers in food tasting and physical activity in the home environment. Ann Behav Med, 56 (Suppl 1):S103.

Mena, N.Z., Johnson, S.L., Ferrante, M.J., Hobbs, S.J., Zeng, N., Bellows, L.L. (2021). The SPORKS for Kids: Integrating Movement into Nutrition Education. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 53(10), 903-906.

Zeng, N., Johnson, S.L., McCloskey, M., Ferrante, M., Hobbs, S., Mena, N., Bellows, L.L. (2020). Increasing Preschoolers’ Physical Activity via A Mobile App Game. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 54, S641.

McCloskey M., Bekelman T.A., Thompson D.A., Chamberlin, B., Clark, L., Johnson S.L., Bellows L.L. (2018). Mobile Device Use among Rural, Low-Income Families and the Feasibility of an App to Encourage Preschooler’s Physical Activity: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research: Pediatrics and Parenting, 1(2):e10858.

Bellows, L.L., McCloskey, M., Clark, L., Thompson, D.A., Bekelman, T.A., Chamberlin, B., Johnson, S.L. (2018). HEROs (HEalthy EnviROnments study): Design of a Mixed Methods Formative Research Phase for an Ecocultural Intervention to Promote Healthy Eating and Activity Behaviors in Rural Families with Preschoolers. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 50(7),736-745.

McCloskey, M., Johnson, S.L., Benz, C., Thompson, D.A., Chamberlin, B., Clark, L., Bellows, L.L. (2018). Parent Perceptions of Mobile Device Use among Preschool-Aged Children in Rural Head Start Centers. J Nutr Educ Behav, 50(1), 83-89.