Kid Power: How US Children Are Moving To Help The Malnourished

A new fitness armband designed for American kids might be the ultimate technological do-gooding multi-tasker: not only encouraging kids in the US to increase the amount they exercise, but at the same time helping malnourished children around the world.

Author Hanadi Siering:

Translation Marisa Pettit, 01.20.16

While many kids in America suffer from what can only be described as an all-too generous diet, other children around the world continue to go hungry. Facing up to that complex paradox, the UNICEF Kid Power fitness armband sets out to kill two birds with one stone – encouraging kids in the US to up their energy output, and in return for their efforts, donating food packages to those in need.

The campaign bears the name Unicef Kid Power, and it does more or less exactly what it says on the tin: it gives kids the power to save lives, by (as the official website states quite beautifully) “tapping into their inherent desire to help their peers”. Carrying out sporting missions, kids not only increase their amount of physical movement, but at the same time they have the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures, and of course one of the biggest problems still faced by developing countries: hunger and malnutrition. And what’s so nice about the whole thing is that kids get to know what it feels like to do good and help other children who are less fortunate than themselves.

The Kid Power arm band works in conjuncion with the Kid Power app, which sets kids challenges to do and awards them with points for each one tackled. The points are then converted into donations in the form of food packages, which are distributed to malnourished or undernourished kids in other countries. The donations come from the US fund for UNICEF and names such as Disney and Target are among the well-known sponsors. Currently the armband is only available to purchase at specific stores in the US and online, but developers report that they are planning to extend the campaign to more countries in the future.

More Sport in Schools

But this campaign isn’t just aimed at kids and their parents: UNICEF also wants to use it to help schools motivate their pupils to get up from their desks and out and about. For a small sign-up fee, classes can receive a tablet with the app installed, a Kid Power armband for each child and teaching materials. The more movement tracked by a class, the more points are collected and the more aid packages are sent to needy children. Particularly active classes are also given an extra incentive: the chance to win prizes.

Just like other pedometres and fitness bands, the UNICEF Kid Power band measures steps and movement. It’s not just in the US that the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of children has been noted: the WHO has identified the issue of children’s health and mobility as an emerging issue that needs to be tackled by policy makers. And fitness bands like this are a great way to motivate couch potatoes to increase their activity levels by measuring things like steps, heart frequency and distance travelled.

For more information about the campaign, check out the video from UNICEF USA below:

Translated from this article by Hanadi that was published on our German-language platform.

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