Fitbit, one of the leading global smart wearables brand, has introduced the Fitbit Ace, an activity tracker that makes fitness fun for kids while inspiring the entire family to build healthy habits together to help fight decreasing levels of activity in children.

Designed for kids ages 8 and older, Ace automatically tracks steps, active minutes and sleep, has up to 5 days of battery life, features an adjustable, showerproof wristband in two bright colors, and provides encouragement to be active. Plus, with the new Fitbit family account, parents can control who their kids connect with in the Fitbit app so they can safeguard their kids’ privacy and stay on top of their activity. Ace is available globally this month (April 2018).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), childhood obesity rates are on the rise, with two out of three kids inactive every day.

Based on a new Fitbit study, most parents agree and believe their children are less active than when they were children.

They are concerned about their child’s weight, the food they eat, and their activity levels, as well as the rising trend of childhood obesity. The majority of parents want their children to be healthier (84%) and want their families to be more active (87%).

Screen time is cited as the biggest challenge in getting their kids to be active, and parents are looking for ways to encourage a more healthy, active lifestyle, including being more active as a family, cooking together, or encouraging their children to have a better understanding of their own activity levels. In fact, 75% of parents said they are interested in the use of fitness trackers to help them keep their kids active, and Fitbit was selected over competitors more than twice as often due to price and ease of use.

To address this challenge, Fitbit has designed Ace to encourage kids 8 and older to be more active and build healthy habits with their families by tracking their activity and providing kids with the motivation to move by automatically tracking steps, active minutes and sleep stats, and set customizable daily step and active minute goals. The World Health Organization recommends children ages 7-17 get 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night.

By reminding them to move the Ace reduces sedentary time by setting up personalized reminders that nudge them to get at least 250 steps each hour with a small buzz when they’ve been sitting on the couch or in front of a screen for too long.

Encouraging kids to achieve their goals by rewarding them with celebratory messages and fun, collectible badges, which can be seen in the Fitbit app on their (or your) phone.

Kids can compete against family, or friends (coming soon), in daily and weekend challenges, or in a Family Faceoff – a new 5-day step challenge that allows members in a family account to compete against each other and stay motivated (coming soon).

“The challenge of inactivity with our children is not going away and is only estimated to get worse as they get older, dropping almost 40 minutes per year from ages 9 to 15,” said Chris Watts, executive director of the National Fitness Foundation.“It is essential to provide parents with tools to help their kids be more active. Fitbit’s solution offers more than just a way to track activity – it helps instill healthy habits from an early age, making it fun and rewarding to move more and empowers parents to make health and fitness a family affair.”

Protecting kids’ privacy is top of mind for parents who let their kids use technology. That’s why our new Fitbit family account is designed to be compliant with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other applicable privacy laws, allowing parents to manage who their children connect with and what information they see in the Fitbit app.

This includes a Parent view setting which lets you navigate between your view and your kid’s view to check their activity, progress, and approve their friend requests from family members and friends (coming soon) at any time in the Fitbit app. Ace automatically syncs with most Android and iOS devices; Windows devices coming soon.

The kid view setting limits what data your child sees in the Fitbit app, such as stats, friend requests, badges, clock faces, and more. For kids with smartphones, ensure they never miss your call with notifications directly on their wrist.

“As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to empower the entire family to embrace a healthy and more active lifestyle,” said James Park, CEO and Co-founder of Fitbit. “It can be hard to start and stick to good habits, and we know from our community that network effects are key to getting and keeping people motivated. By bringing that experience to families, it can make healthier habits feel more achievable by making it fun and engaging. We are excited by the opportunity to enable parents to help set their kids on a path to building lifelong, healthy habits all while having fun together.”

Fitbit Ace is now available  on Fitbit.com for $149.95, including major New Zealand retailers; Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi.

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