This October, every fourth grader will get a Sqord Pod and wristband—a small activity tracker that is low-cost, waterproof and durable. Each Sqord is equipped with an accelerometer that measures activity and syncs with a free Sqord App, instantly updating the child’s activity and introducing them to tons of fun.
Once synced, kids can monitor their movement, customize their characters, collect points and medals and create friendly challenges among their classmates and other schools. This encourages movement in a healthy, fun way! Third party evaluations of Sqord used by fifth graders found that previously inactive kids increased their activity level by 55 percent.
According to the 2014 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, an astonishing 69 percent of sixth graders living in Walla Walla County are exercising less than 60 minutes per day. Of these sixth graders, 49 percent have three or more hours of screen time per day. This type of physical inactivity has significant health consequences and can translate to poor performance in the classroom.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of obese children ages 6-11 in the United States increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. For the first time ever, the current generation of youth in America is expected to live five years less than their parents. A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that between the ages of 9 and 14, physical activity drops from 180 minutes a day to less than 43.
To address these issues in the Walla Walla Valley, Providence St. Mary Foundation is embarking on a Healthy Youth Initiative: a bold and exciting vision to build a healthier community. We are collaborating with key partners, including area schools, to encourage physical fitness among fourth grade students—the turning point where physical activity declines.