Today’s generation knows how to utilise science and technology in a better way. Wearable fitness trackers have been promising to help motivate us to get healthier and stay active. The latest technologically advanced products like Fitbits (fitness trackers) have high rates that cannot be acquired by everyone. Getting fit is more complicated than simply knowing how many steps have been taken for those who live in low-income neighborhoods.
It is more difficult in low-income neighborhoods to perform exercises on a daily basis. Andrea Grimes Parker, an assistant professor at Northeastern University, designs technology to help vulnerable and marginalised populations overcome barriers living a healthy life. Adults who have physical jobs and long work hours may find less time to work out. Fitbits are not a solution to these issues.
Parker, who has joint appointments in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University, says:
“Existing fitness platforms focus so much on goal setting, data collection, and visualization of data, but that is a very limited amount of support. We need to think about how to help families derive value from these platforms, beyond that surface level interaction”.
It is important to gather data about how useful these trackers are for low socioeconomic status families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children from low-income families are excessively affected by obesity. They don’t get fitness training, pieces of equipment and facilities for better health. These children are at an increased risk for a variety of health issues, including diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore they’re also more likely to have obesity as adults.
Researchers and professors are working their best to develop a fitness tracker that does more than just count steps. Parker and her colleagues visualise fitness trackers that go beyond simple goal setting. They’re working on creating a technology that would trigger families to reflect on activities they enjoy and encourage them to be socially active as well. Lastly, it would only be fair to add that being active is not just how many steps you take or how many calories you burn but finding activities that you enjoy and finding places where you can exercise comfortably.