Mama Magazin
5. November 2016

Are Our Children Active Enough?

Active All Year Round?
Active All Year Round?

Are Our Kids Active Enough? I have admit that I had no idea what the “official guidelines” were for the level of activity in children. I always just imagined the more the merrier and quite frankly that is how I feel it should be, but nowadays we really need to be talking and thinking about the minimum level of activity since studies are showing worrying trends in childhood obesity. Just one peek at the World Health Organisation (WHO) website is enough to send you running for the treadmill, children in hand.

„In 2013, 42 million infants and young children were overweight or obese.“ (Source WHO)

According to WHO, this number is set to nearly double by 2025. That is a crazy number of children! But how do we know when we are doing enough?

How Much Activity is Enough? After some internet research I saw that people are pretty much in agreement that for a school child like Lilly it should be 60 minutes of “aerobic activity” each day (source; NHS). This can be split up into 15 minute slots and combined between:

  • „moderate-intensity activities: this means your child is working hard enough to raise their heart rate and break a sweat

  • vigorous-intensity activities: this means they’re breathing hard and fast, and their heart rate has gone up quite a bit.

As part of your child’s 60 or more minutes, they should also do activities that strengthen their muscles and bones.“  (source; NHS)

Working in a combined primary and secondary school I can say that at break time the students are very active from 1st Grade to 5th Grade, when they hit our secondary level, this starts to tail off. The boys often stay more active as they are playing football, but the girls often just sit and chat together. The older the students get, the less active they are in break times, then the teachers are pretty much stationary!

IMG_0962 IMG_0989

Are We Hitting This Target? This morning has been a pretty normal example of our weekends; early get-up with Little One, breakfast and then set to work on house work or garden work. Since it is autumn, we had a load of leaves to clear and I dragged both children out to “help”. Little Charlotte did well wandering around with a shovel in hand and babbling away to herself. Lilly needed some encouragement to come out at first, but soon got stuck in to the raking of leaves and once the novelty of that wore off she played with her friends. Together they climbed the tree in our garden, jumped on the trampoline and made up some crazy games together. I looked at the time and realized that they had played pretty much non-stop actively for two hours before lunch.

Lilly is going to an indoor play area for a birthday party this afternoon and will then flop this evening I bet! The weekends are pretty full of playing outdoors, walking our dog in the woods, watching Papa play football, going for a swim or at least playing in the IKEA childrens’ area while mum and dad notch up a few steps checking out furniture and the like in the IKEA labyrinth (a workout in itself). The one thing I don’t know for sure is whether Lilly is hitting this target during the week. She is at school from 08:00 until 16:00 each day and in the Autumn and Winter time it can be dark when we get home, which limits her outdoor playing time to school. Is she doing enough activity?

Can An App Help? A few weeks ago I went to a Parent Blogger Cafe Event in Berlin (you can read more about it here). The company Reima was there promoting their ReimaGo clothing and app. Reima is a Finnish company who normally make lovely outdoorsy clothing (check them out here). They have carried out their own international studies which show that many parents have the same concerns that I do – is their child active enough during the week? The different countries had so many different levels of indoor and outdoor activity. Some countries spend lots of time outdoor with their children, others far less. As a response to this, Reima have brought out something interesting in the hope of encouraging children to be more active – The ReimaGo clothing with Chip. This Chip collects data throughout the day about how active your child has been. In the evening, you synchronize your smart phone with the Chip and via Bluetooth it downloads this data to the ReimaGo app. This data lets the children play and advance on a game specially designed to encourage the children to hit new levels and targets by being active during the day.

The pink and blue are girly but not over the top as the grey tones it down.
The pink and blue are girly but not over the top as the grey tones it down.

My Concerns – I was immediately worried that the app would be transmitting data about my child throughout the day, but Reima reassured me that the app simply collected the information and downloaded it to the App in the evening. I think that tracking our children is still such a minefield and I was relieved to hear that the app is not sending information the whole time. Once I was reassured then the curiosity kicked in and I signed up to trial the ReimaGo jacket and chip. We will be testing this jacket, chip and app for the next two weeks and then checking back in with you to let you know how we all found it.

Any Questions? Is there anything specific you would like to know about the jacket and chip? Anything you want testing? Drop us an email or leave a comment under the article. We’re interested to hear from you.


Mama Chic Team

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