Let’s face it: We’ve all at some point and time played on our phone while hanging out with kids. Whether it’s a quick text or a social media post, it can be difficult to put our electronics down. But in all honestly, our email and Facebook can wait. Especially if it means setting a good example for your child and protecting their health, since increased screen time is associated with higher rates of childhood obesity.
There’s no question obesity has become a major health threat in the United States, and with some recent studies showing one in three children to be obese, it’s clear that the problem isn’t going anywhere. To many, the culprits appear to be: Fast-food restaurants, a decrease in physical activity among school children, and even possibly genetic links.
In order to respond to the growing population of sick youth, companies are now coming up with computer programs, interactive mobile apps, and wearable trackers. One of the newest tech toys, for example, is Leap Band “Kids Wearables,” which was released back in 2014 as the first health tracker for children with 50 activities and challenges programmed in it.
Using apps to teach children takes advantage of the child’s inclination to play games on their parents’ phones and tablets. “Super Stretch Yoga” is another application for young iPad users to introduce them to yoga and inspire healthier routines in their day-to-day lives. These adventure fitness games are highly supported by teachers, parents, and medical experts and provides young viewers and their parents with learning materials, tips from medical experts, and activities that encourage physical activities.
Three Technologies That Are Helping Children Live a Healthier Life
Leap band: Although some parents may be tempted to give technology to their children for all the wrong reasons:
- To entertain them or keep them busy while the parent is busy doing something else.
- To demonstrate how awesome of a parent they are in order to befriend their child.
- As a way to assuage guilt over being gone or absent due to commitments or situations such as relationship problems, work, or fear of being a parent.
Leapfrog, the creator of popular kids’ educational electronics, has debuted the first wearable health-tracker for children called Leap band. The app, however, wasn’t designed for babysitting children. Instead, the wearable band was designed for children ages 4 to 7, and includes a built-in accelerometer, color screen, rechargeable battery and water-resistant design.
Learning Anatomy: Explore a working model of the body with your child using The Human Body App. Every part is animated and interactive. The heart beats, the stomach gurgles, lungs breathe, the skin feels, and the eyes see. The application was designed for kids ages 4+ to help them discover just what we’re made of and how we work.
Nutrition: Smash Your Food makes it easy for children to learn about salt, sugar, and oil content of various different foods. The app is designed to challenge families to “smash” real food like hamburgers, milkshakes, donuts, bagels, and entire meals, to learn about nutrition and inspire ways to eat healthier for children and adults alike. In doing so, parents can also help minimize their child’s chances of getting varicose veins. A condition that makes the vein visibly bumpy or rope-like and has the ability to occur in any part of the leg. The risk, however, can increase by a substantial amount if the child is obese. Which could also lead to the child getting heart disease later on down the road as an adult.
The United States is at a time when action must be taken in order to battle the rising numbers of childhood obesity, which is defined by Mayo Clinic as a serious medical condition that has cost thousands of extra resources per child. Not to mention it could also increase the risk of adults becoming obese, which adds on several more life-threatening risks.
Thanks for the read. Did I miss anything? What are some other ways technology can minimize childhood obesity? Feel free to leave comments below.