Childhood obesity has been the leading health concern in kids for a number of years for good reason. According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the percentage of children ages 6 to 11 years in the United States who were considered obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. The percentage of kids ages 12 to 19 who were considered obese increased from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent over the same period.
Associated health risks
Exacerbating the concern over childhood obesity are the greater health risks that come with obesity, such as Type 2 diabetes. Traditionally, Type 2 diabetes was referred to as “adult diabetes” given that it is often associated with inactivity and obesity. But now that we see greater levels of obesity in kids, and decreased activity levels as screens occupy more of kids’ days, Type 2 diabetes has become a true childhood concern. In fact, childhood diabetes has increased by nearly 30 percent in the past 15 years. Most children who develop Type 2 diabetes have a family member with the disease:
- 45–80 percent have a parent with Type 2 diabetes
- 74–90 percent report at least one affected first- or second-degree relative
First Lady’s program inspires kids to move
New programs help shine a spotlight on the need to get kids up and moving more during their tween and teen years. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative has inspired efforts in schools and neighborhoods to get kids up and moving. In fact, 11 million kids attend schools that are part of the Let’s Move! Active Schools program where they strive to make 60 minutes of physical activity a day the norm. The NFL’s Play 60 campaign leverages the power of celebrity to encourage active play for at least an hour a day, building greater awareness and encouragement to get up and play.
Even with these initiatives, kids are still drawn to screens and virtual worlds as their go-to sources for play.
Sqord inspires play away from a screen
What if you could take kids’ love for video games and turn it on its head in a way that encourages them to get outside and play together in the real world?
Sqord is trying to do just that. One part social community, one part fitness tracker, one part game – Sqord tracks movement in the real world and converts it into Sqord Activity Points that kids can use in the Sqord app to unlock cool new features such as messaging and sending high-fives to friends, upgrading their PowerMe avatars and much more. Learn more about the activity benefits of Sqord.
Keeping kids active is one of the best ways to fight childhood diabetes. And while National Diabetes Month serves as a reminder of the importance for getting outside and moving, Sqord is a new way to motivate active play every single day.