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Childrens’s physical exercise examined using the latest finnish technology


Research shows that children’s daily physical exercise takes place during the school day and that straightforward means can be used to motivate children towards becoming more physically active. The system used by Hookie Technologies Ltd for their research is based on algorithms developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. These automatically identify the person exercising and the type and amount of exercise being performed. (Hookie's press release 3.6.2010)

"The technology is based on VTT developed solution and patented methods. With these methods the devices carried by the user can determine the identity of the user and recognize the specific type of exercise e.g. walking, cycling or jogging. These methods are an example of ubiquitous technology where physical world and information technology merge closer together. VTT develops ubiquitous technology in Open Smart Spaces program.

Taking part in the research were three classes from Isoniittu School in Klaukkala. For six days the children each wore one of the system’s exercise meters. This was the first time that children’s daily physical exercise was being examined in this way – a large sample using exercise meters – instead of through straight interview. Research was realised in cooperation with the Young Finland Association (Nuori Suomi ry).

Information on the amount of exercise and its distribution throughout the day was gathered during the research, together with mapping of Internet and console game use and parents’ attitudes towards exercise motivation for their children.

Most daily physical exercise takes place at school

Children’s daily physical exercise occurred for the most part during the school day. This included mornings and the journey to and from school. This was more clearly evident in the older age groups; physical exercise of first year pupils was spread more evenly through the day. The younger groups were also more active at the weekend.

Nearly all parents reported encouraging their child to exercise, although only one in five children were rewarded for doing so, compared to a shade over half who helped with housework.

The amount of children’s exercise can be influenced

During the morning gathering of data on physical exercise children saw the amount of exercise they were doing and the entertaining virtual reward generated by it. The simple reward model inspired the children towards self-monitoring and resulted in an increase in physical exercise performed during the period of research.

Lack of exercise among children and adolescents a growing problem

The lack of physical exercise and poor dietary habits among children and adolescents are causing obesity and major health problems. For the first time an emerging generation possesses a lower life expectancy than its parent.

Implementers of the research

Hookie Technologies Ltd develops new kinds of products and services for motivating children and young people to physical exercise.

The Young Finland Association (Nuori Suomi ry) is an independent organisation tasked with fostering the well-being and joy of life of children and youth through physical activity and sport.