Sedentary behavior and obesity are major problems, arguably of epidemic proportions, and as such First Lady Michelle Obama has focused her time in the White House fighting these major public health concerns.
Mrs. Obama recently announced the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+), a new featured element of The President's Challenge (@prechal). This challenge holds individuals accountable for minimum levels of physical activity weekly and if these levels are met an award will be earned.
For kids under the age of 18, the objective is a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity daily, or a minimum of 13,000 steps recorded using a pedometer, and about half on both counts for adults.
A few weeks ago, it was announced that The President's Challenge was partnering with Zamzee (@zamzee) to provide wearable activity monitors for kids to track their progress toward earning the PALA+. Zamzee combines wearable sensors with a web-based rewards program to make physical activity fun and engaging for kids who would otherwise be sitting in front of their TV or playing video games. The company is a 2010 spin-out from HopeLab Foundation, with funding support provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and is part of the Omidyar Network of philanthropic enterprises.
“In the hectic lives of American families, finding time to get up and get moving together on a daily basis can be tough,” said Ron Glotzer, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Zamzee. “Zamzee is a fun way to measure and reward physical activity, and PALA+ provides great goals for families to achieve. We are honored to partner with the program and to support the goals of PALA+.”
The Zamzee device is very practical and insanely simple to use. Its battery will last as long as two weeks with a full charge, and kids can put it in their pocket or clip it to their clothing. The payment comes in the form of Amazon and iTunes giftcards, and it appears from the graphic above you can also receive gift cards for GameStop, a video game retailer, which to me seems counterintuitive.
Zamzee should partner with a company like United Preference (@utdpreference), which uses a concept they call Tailored Spend to ensure wellness-based rewards are use for healthy purposes, while a video game doesn't quite meet that minimum standard IMO. But if Zamzee figures out how to motivate kids into playing outdoors, it is a safe bet they will exhibit less sedentary behavior and become obese at an early stage of life.