Latest Fitbit device aims to fight childhood obesity

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Leading fitness brand Fitbit is launching an activity tracker designed for children aged 8 to 13, called the Fitbit Ace.

Despite Fitbit being around for more than 10 years, it is only now introducing the company’s first children’s wearable. 

The aim of such new technology is to help combat childhood obesity by allowing kids to take ownership of their fitness. 

While kid-friendly fitness trackers are not a new concept, the Fitbit Ace has an unique feature that gives children an alarm when they have been sedentary for too long.

The Fitbit Ace also automatically tracks steps, distance, activity time and sleep.

Additionally, the Fitbit Ace can also set daily activity goals in which users can be rewarded with virtual badges and celebratory messages.

Kids can also compete against their friends and family with physical activity challenges.

Personal trainer, Katelyn Mannix, says devices such as Fitbits can make healthier habits feel more achievable by making fitness more engaging.

“Fitness technology aids in the creation of healthy habits as it enables people to track measurable outcomes. It is important for people to feel like they are achieving goals and meeting targets. If people feel like their efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle are not being noticed, they are more likely to stop. Fitness technology enables people to track and achieve goals simply and with minimal effort,” she told Dscribe.

Fitbit is launching a kid-friendly version of their product.

Obese and overweight children is a major health concern facing the population and insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide.

The latest 2016 Physical Activity Report Card found that Australian kids are some of the least active in the world.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 25% of Australian children are overweight or obese, equating to around 1.2 million children and adolescents.

BetterHealth suggests about 80 per cent of obese adolescents will become obese adults, with lack of physical activity being a major cause. As a result, it’s predicted that 65 per cent of young Australians will be overweight or obese by 2020.

The tracker coincides with the Australian guidelines, acting as a strategy to increase activity levels.

A significant number of Australian kids are failing to meet basic physical activity recommendations, with only one in three children and one in 10 young people achieving the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Thirteen-year-old, Jessie Solczaniuk says fitness trackers would make being active easier for kids like herself.

“It can make being active more fun. You can track what you’re doing on your Fitbit and set a goal for yourself and try to achieve your goal. Each time you achieve your goal you get better and better,” she told Dscribe.

The Department of Health states that encouraging kids to be physically active when they are young will establish healthy habits that can stay with them throughout their life.

Jessie recognises the importance of making healthy choices from a younger age.

“It’s important to live a healthy and active lifestyle so you don’t get sickness or illness when you’re older and if you know you’re doing something good for your body it makes you feel great,” she says.

The tracker is available to purchase in Australia after this month.

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