When children reach fifth or sixth grade, they begin to grow out of activity programs geared toward elementary school children, yet they are not old enough to get started with organized sports. As a result, physical activity tends to drop at this age, snowballing into a longer trend of inactivity and obesity.
Kadlec Regional Medical Center has enacted an initiative, known as Advanced Kadlec Academy, to counteract this trend. Through the initiative — which was originally crafted by Providence Health & Services — local fifth and sixth grade students use kid-proof fitness trackers made by Sqord to monitor their physical activity in a game-like fashion and compare their progress with friends. The more you move, the more points, virtual rewards, medals and levels you earn.
The program may be new at Kadlec, but it’s hardly untested. During Providence’s pilot run with the fitness trackers in Snohomish County, fifth grade students saw an increase in physical activity of 12 to 13 percent. Kadlec also tested the program over the summer with employees’ children.
“They loved it. They were always looking at ways to increase their points,” said Edna Felix, RRT, Kadlec Academy and Sqord facilitator. “They were competitive with each other, and we had parents say they wanted one, too, so they could participate. It was a lot of fun for everyone, and families did see a big increase in the desire of the kids to be active. That’s what we want for all the children who participate.”
Establishing healthy trends from a young age is crucial for long-term health, and this is especially important to recognize as WSHA celebrates National Heart Month throughout February. Click here to read more about the initiative in Kadlec’s Pacesetter newsletter. (Tim Pfarr)