Parents slam fitness bands for kids

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A device aimed at encouraging kids to get more exercise has been slammed by parents who insist technology is not the answer.

The LeapBand - a wrist-watch style fitness gadget featuring a virtual pet - goes on sale in the UK today at a cost of £29.99 and is designed to measure children's activity levels and encourage them to develop healthy habits.

Offering 50 different activities and challenges, the manufacturers say the device monitors a child's physical movements, giving them points for keeping active. These points are then turned into rewards in the form of games or 'healthy snacks' for their virtual pet. Parents can also download games onto the band and track their child's activity levels.

But the idea has been met with criticism from many parents. One such critic, writing on The Guardian website, suggested the gadget would simply "encourage them to bury their heads onto some joyless app in the name of technology", while another claimed it was a device for "stupid fat lazy parents who won't play with their kids".

Others also had reservations. Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, told the Daily Mail: "The idea is positive, as long as the reward for exercise is not food and parents are sensible."

Research by the makers of LeapBand released to coincide with its UK launch revealed that many parents are unsure about how to keep their children fit and healthy, with 38 per cent of the 1,000 mums and dads polled admitting that mixed health messages left them confused.

And it seems this summer's Commonwealth Games and World Cup action has failed to inspire kids to get out and get active, with 10 per cent preferring to watch sport on TV than get involved themselves.

The LeapBand is designed for children aged four to seven years old.

Do you think the LeapBand would encourage your kids to get more exercise? Leave your comments below...
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