Davis Schoolchildren use Accelerometers to Learn About Physical Activity


Foods for Health Institute (FFHI) partner Polar™ recently donated 100 physical activity monitors to the Education Program. Dr. Sara Schaefer, the Program’s Associate Director, incorporates these innovative devices into the FFHI research programs, but she also uses them in larger community outreach initiatives to extend the benefits of personalized health monitoring to the public. The device, called the Polar Active, provides safe, effective and kid-friendly technology children can use to measure their lifestyle choices and health outcomes.

The Polar Active looks like a simple wristwatch, but the built-in accelerometer technology measures the user’s daily physical activity quantity as well as intensity ranging from “very easy” to “vigorous.” The monitor accounts for all kinds of child-appropriate activities from walking and fast running to swimming and jumping rope.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all school-age children get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. The Polar Active device helps children monitor their daily activity achievements; it offers real-time feedback and lets kids know when the target is met. Most importantly, the Polar Active device allows kids to take ownership of their physical activity so that exercise becomes a normal part of the day.

The FFHI Education Program takes pride in offering the benefit of new technologies, such as the Polar Active, to the community. Through a partnership with Peregrine School, Davis children recently had the opportunity to use the Polar Active to learn more about their personal physical activity behaviors. The teachers at Peregrine School augmented the children’s experience by incorporating the device and its data into a broader discussion of health and activity within the elementary school’s curriculum. Dr. Schaefer was pleased, not only to see children engaging with the technology, but also their increased interest in achieving personal activity goals.

Watch a video clip about the Polar Active devices at Peregrine School in Davis, CA.