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Fifth-grade students in Spokane and Kootenai counties will receive wearable devices to track physical activity

About 7,100 fifth-graders in Spokane and Kootenai counties will receive wearable devices to track their physical activity levels.

Distribution of the devices, called Sqords, is being funded through Providence Health Care and Kootenai Health.

Research shows that prior to fifth grade, most children receive an adequate amount of physical activity. But fifth grade is the point at which many kids spend less time running and playing and more time sitting. The goal is to encourage them to become more active at a critical time in their lives, health officials said.

The devices will be given out in October. A website allows students and their parents to track their Sqord activity points and send notes of encouragement to their classmates.

“There is plenty of evidence that tells us that physical activity is key to good health, and that the converse is true as well,” said Elaine Couture, chief executive of Providence Health Care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in five young children and teenagers in the U.S. is obese, and one in three children is overweight.

This is the second year that Spokane County fifth-graders will receive the devices. Information from last year indicated that kids wore their activity trackers for an average of nine hours a day, and nearly half recorded high activity levels.


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