Screen time is often blamed for the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, but a new report finds a growing number of parents are now turning to technology for a solution.

With fitness trackers becoming more advanced and affordable than ever before – children are their latest users. But, is this a healthy solution or cause for concern? And how young is too young to start wearing an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or other device?

Harmony Healthcare IT, a data management firm that works with health data, surveyed more than 1,000 parents of kids 18 or younger to learn how they try to keep their children healthy. Here are some highlights from the report

  • The average age children start wearing fitness trackers is 10 years old.
  • One in 10 parents purchased a fitness tracker for their child to combat obesity.
  • The top metrics parents track using the device are physical activity/steps (81%), heart rate (46%), sleep (39%)

With concerns about cybersecurity, data privacy, and the potential for health-tracking technology to create unhealthy obsessions, some wonder if this technology does more harm than good for overweight and obese children. Here’s some more data from the Harmony Healthcare IT data:

° Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) parents would consider weight loss medication for their child if they became obese. Parents agreed with the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics, noting the youngest age they’d start medication would be 12.

° Meanwhile, about 1 in 6 (16%) parents would contemplate weight loss surgery for an obese child. However, parents would not consider this surgery until their child was an average age of 15, rather than the association’s recommended age of 13.

° There are a lot of challenges to being healthy, but most (63%) parents agreed the biggest hurdle in 2023 is screen time. In fact, 53% feel technology makes it hard for their kids to stay healthy. Others noted getting kids to eat healthy foods or get a good night’s sleep is also a struggle.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today