In the fall of 2015 the Anchorage School District handed out a device called “Sqord” to students in 36 schools. The device is similar to a Fitbit watch and connects a social online world with activity tracking. Kids accumulated points based on how active they were and can compare with friends and classmates. The initiative was a partnership with ASD and Providence Medical Center to get children more active. Those organizations were also working with the State of Alaska, Healthy Futures and the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER).
ISER analyzed the data and found the results did show that with the device children were more active. Mouchine Guettabi with UAA noticed a few patterns. He said students were mostly active during the weekday, but not as much during the weekend. Another finding was boys were more active than the girls. As an experiment, access to the online functionality was restricted in some schools. Guettabi added those students scored more points than those with online access.
According to Karol Fink with the State of Alaska’s Obesity Prevention and Control program, the data is important because kids need an hour of physical activity a day for best health. Fink said only a fraction of Alaskan kids hit that benchmark.
“It helps you maintain a healthy weight and then it helps prevent chronic diseases,” Fink added. Some of those are diabetes and heart disease. In the long run, Fink added, physical activity makes for a healthier population and lowers money spent on healthcare.
The full breakdown of the report can be found on ISER’s website. More information about the activity trackers can be found at Sqord.com. Parents looking for ideas to start a healthier lifestyle for their child, Play Every Day’s website is a good resource.