A Children’s Hospital in Australia has started a project to help children suffering from obesity new methods to help them be motivated to lose weight and get healthy through exercise.
A pilot study at the start of the year saw 35 children given wearable devices to measure their heart rate, sleep patterns and the number of steps they do each day.
Researcher Dr Megan Gow first deployed the technology during a type –two diabetes study which happened last year to monitor children’s activity and prevent health hazards. The research report indicated that five out of eight children got significant motivation to increase their activity by measuring their steps.
“Instead of having to always focus on their diet, we can ask them about how their steps have been going”, Dr Gow said. “If they have been taking a lot of steps I can say ‘great work’. If they are falling behind, I will know this sooner and find out what is going on”
Through these activities doctors and dieticians can determine what would be the appropriate course of action and treatment to be issued depending on the data provided from the wearable devices.
There are several devices on the market that can be worn on the wrist, hip, shoe or other places which track the user’s physical activity usually by measuring the number of steps that are taken whilst doing exercise. Other features include heart rate monitoring, sleep patterns and exercise intensity the data collected by the devices are often displayed via smartphone application allowing you to track changes over time. Most well-known are fitness devices are Fitbit which comes in many different devices that help users exercise, eat, sleep and live healthier whilst they perform exercise the data is recorded and presented on the FitBit companion app on the android smart phone.
As many new apps and mobile devices are aimed at getting people to become healthier and encourage them to do more exercise many of these products focus on physical activity which assists in preventing weight gain. Some apps are specifically designed to be used by children and come with games, music, and age-appropriate content to help engage children in healthy behaviors. Other apps that are designed to assist children in improving their diet over time and to track their progress.