How Artificial Intelligence Can Combat Childhood Obesity

Sunday, 2nd August 2015 10:55 am

In the 1980’s children all over the country were told, ‘Why don’t you go and switch your television set and do something less boring instead?’, by the child presenters of a television show called, ‘Why Don’t You?’. The show gave children ideas of different activities they could do after watching the programme, many of them were silly and not really that good but the sentiment was totally spot on! Today, health experts are finding ways to encourage teenagers in particular to abandon their screens to do some outdoor activities instead. Calorific diets and sedentary lifestyles are contributing to an explosion in childhood obesity in the country, which is putting children at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, and it can also damage a child’s self-esteem.

The simple solution to combating obesity is to eat less and move more. The NHS Choices website states that, ‘children who achieve a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn and are more self-confident.’ As adults it is our responsibility to set children a good example by eating well and taking plenty of exercise.  Encouraging teenagers to do anything can often be a hard task so it is extremely important that councils and playground committees take their needs into consideration when planning playgrounds or positioning playground equipment.

We definitely know that teenagers like to spend time with their friends and competing against each other online. The i.Play or Intelligent Play system does exactly that. i.Play has been devised by Playdale in conjunction with Progressive Sports Technologies. Not only does it provide children with an exciting way to exercise it gives them the opportunity to log into the i.Play website and record their score into a National league table. It also allows them to communicate with the game developers and learn how to improve their score.

i.Play is a metal frame that has push, pull, twist, spin and stamp buttons placed in different parts of it. The game has a definite structure and it can be played alone or with friends.  In order to activate the game a start button must be pulled and the type of game is selected using another button and a screen. When playing i.Play you are given three lives and progress through different levels so the challenge frequently changes, keeping children interested and participating in more exercise as they progress. You have to move quickly to get a high score so a teenager with a competitive streak will burn off loads of calories just by trying to be better than their friends.

Feedback from children who have played on i.Play has been extremely positive and the online interaction is encouraging them to increase their exercise and improve their game. Anything that inspires teenagers to, ‘Switch off their television set and go and do something less boring instead’, is a very good addition to any playground.

If you would like to find out more information about i.Play you can visit the i.Play website or contact us directly at Playdale on this phone number 015395 39837 and we would be happy to offer you any advice.