Stylish and colorful fitness trackers are a hit with kids, and they just might do some good.
“It helps them stay motivated and accountable because they can track it,” she said. “It provides parents a means to reward children based on walking distance or movement. You can set monthly goals, and then you have something to work toward.”
While it’s not yet known whether fitness trackers lead to better health in the long term, the devices have helped many users step up their physical activity.
Kids may not be inclined to walk their way to a goal, but fitness trackers take into account all kinds of activities. And that’s a good thing, because kids can achieve their goals doing things they like, such as bike riding or playing on the playground, Amy said.
Kids ages 6 to 17 are encouraged to get 1 hour a day of physical activity. A federal health survey a few years ago showed only about 1 in 4 high school students reached that goal daily during the week before the survey.
Especially in cold weather, it’s easy for children and teens to become sedentary.
“With a tracker, they can see they need to move more. They can walk up and down the stairs or walk around the house to hit their goal,” Amy said. “Chores also will increase their movement.”
Some trackers link to websites that help kids track activity, and some feature a virtual reward system.
Amy recommends you monitor your kids’ activity and turn virtual points into real rewards.
“Kids who really like them get into it, and as parents, it’s a good idea to see how your kids are moving,” she said.