Zamzee – Igniting a Lifetime of Movement in Teens

by HopeLab

A randomized controlled trial designed to assess the impact of the Zamzee accelerometer and online rewards program showed an average 59% higher rate of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among 11-14-year-old adolescents over a six-month period. Those using Zamzee also achieved the CDC-recommended 60 minutes of MVPA/day at a rate 4.5 times that of the control group. The study included 448 participants recruited from six urban, suburban, and rural U.S. middle schools.

On the Move! Summer Highlights:

  • Zamzee won “Best Use of Gamification in Health & Wellness” award at the third annual Gamification Summit in San Francisco in June.
  • Zamzee partnered with the President’s Challenge Program to help kids and families make physical activity a fun, rewarding part of daily life. The Zamzee activity meter and website use technology to help jumpstart family physical activity and to motivate kids and parents to achieve the goals of PALA+, part of the Presidents Challenge Program. PALA+ is the next phase of PALA (Presidential Active Lifestyle Award), a program of the President’s Challenge, designed to motivate Americans to make physical activity and healthy eating part of their everyday life.


We last reported that Zamzee had made its official San Francisco Bay Area debut to get the device into the hands of as many middle school-aged kids as possible. Similar efforts are currently ongoing throughout California, and in Hawaii, Illinois, and Georgia.  Our Zamzee distribution efforts will continue to expand nationally in 2013, with the goal of reaching the at-risk kids who stand to benefit most.

Zamzee transforms kids’ real-world physical activity, powering an engaging online experience where activity can be redeemed for virtual rewardz (e.g. avatar customization) and tangible goodz (e.g. merchandise, gift cardz) that in turn motivate them to move more.

Zamzee is engaging, and research shows it works. In addition, there is significant anecdotal evidence that the whole family becomes engaged with Zamzee when a teen brings it home. For every kid who receives Zamzee, the impact of the experience can be amplified by as many as 2-4 additional family members.

Zamzee: Go more, get more… What’s your more? Biking, hip hop, challengez, something elz?


Zamzee: The Experience
Zamzee: The Experience

Research conducted by HopeLab continues to demonstrate that Zamzee has a significant, sustained impact on getting young teens to move more. Zamzee rollout has now begun and will ramp up substantially in 2012. Our ultimate goal is to get Zamzee into the hands of as many young teens at risk for sedentary behavior and obesity as possible. Support from Global Giving donors will be leveraged to help us reach these young people. In addition, we are establishing innovative partnerships with schools, after school programs, and other community-based organizations to expand our reach and increase our impact.

We note that there is significant anecdotal evidence that siblings and parents also become engaged with Zamzee as well when a kid brings it home. As such, we anticipate that for every kid who receives Zamzee, the impact of the experience can be amplified by as many as 2-4 additional family members.

The Buzz:

“The kids are currently doing laps of the house.  What have you created?!?!”
- Father of a 10 year-old boy and 12 year-old girl

 “Zamzee gives you the opportunity to do more! You don’t have to depend on your parents.  - 13 year-old girl

“I told some of my friends about my Zamzee and they wanted to help.  They challenged me to race them. It got me moving.” -12 year-old boy

“It motivated them to exercise more. They would ask to do errands for me, to run to the store.  It helped that they were both on it, to make it competitive.  It was really fun for them.”
- Mother of a 10 year-old boy and 12 year-old girl

Grateful mom of two Zamzee users
Grateful mom of two Zamzee users
13 year-old girl and avid Zamzee user
13 year-old girl and avid Zamzee user
Jumping up and down thanks to your support.
Jumping up and down thanks to your support.


We’re delighted to report that Zamzee has made its official San Francisco Bay Area debut. As part of this rollout, HopeLab has begun partnering with over a dozen local school-based and after-school programs to get Zamzee into the hands of middle school-aged kids.

As the Chicago Tribune reported last month, social health games can help make kids trimmer and fitter [see link to article below]. Indeed, young teens inhabit a world where Internet and social engagement through digital media is the norm. They move seamlessly between the virtual and real world, and expect that products should have elements of both. To be relevant and achieve impact in this new reality, it’s been essential that HopeLab intentionally adapt the way we work with young teens to embrace the digital playgrounds they inhabit as critical and potent environments in which to get them moving.

Zamzee leverages the digital settings young teens occupy by motivating real-world physical activity at precisely the time when they are becoming more sedentary and are at increased risk for becoming overweight. Teens themselves control it, and they can use it to create opportunities for movement regardless of the environmental constraints in their lives.

Thanks for helping make Zamzee available to kids who will benefit from it most!




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Organization Information


Location: Redwood City, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Ellen LaPointe
Redwood City, CA United States

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