Providence Health & Services Alaska and the Anchorage School District (ASD) are teaming up with Sqord to help make kids healthier through increased physical activity. Sqord combines a kid-proof activity tracker, online games, and a kid-safe social media app designed to encourage kids to spend more time in active, physical play.

Sqord, one of the first wearables designed specifically with kids in mind, combines an activity tracker to a socially connected online world where kids can play games and safely and positively encourage and challenge each other to become more active. The Sqord devices will be distributed to students in 37 elementary schools in Anchorage, each device paid for by Providence.

“Sqord is part of our vision to create healthier communities, together,” said Bruce Lamoureux, chief executive, Providence Health & Services Alaska. “We have all witnessed the unbridled energy of children. Our hope is the Sqord devices can utilize that energy to motivate kids to be more active at a time in their lives when they are receptive to learning.”

In addition to ASD, Providence is working with the State of Alaska, Healthy Futures and the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research which is conducting an activity study in parallel to the rollout of these devices.

“Providing students with fitness trackers allows them to use a tool that supports and encourages their fitness and development,” said ASD Superintendent Ed Graff. “This is a great example of business partners working with our students to promote healthy habits that children continue to apply throughout their lives.”

Anyone can purchase a Sqord at www.sqord.com for $34.95. A purchase includes a Sqord kid-proof Power Pod and a lifetime membership to Sqord’s kid-safe, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliant website where they can join groups and encourage peers to become more active. Large school systems to small community groups across the United States have used Sqord to encourage their kids to become more active.

The collaboration with Sqord helps Providence fulfill its vision of creating healthier communities. By making active play more fun, kids will play more and as a result increase their fitness, improve overall health and begin to build life-long habits that can help them prevent serious health problems, such as obesity and diabetes.

“Studies have shown that when kids reach ages 10 and 11, their physical activity levels begin to decline drastically. This is a crucial time to intervene and help them develop healthy habits by continuing to make active play fun for them and setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy movement. Kids can learn an important lesson with Sqord, like adults have with Fitbit and other wearables, you don’t need to be a jock to stay healthy. It’s about consistent movement through active play,” said Sqord’s co-founder, Coleman Greene.

A study presented to the American Heart Association earlier this year showed that getting kids inspired to stay active was influenced heavily by the encouragement and participation they receive from their peers. Sqord’s kid-safe social media and gaming element allows kids to do just that through an online environment where friends can encourage and challenge each other in a positive way.

Sqord recently received national visibility. Sqord’s co-founder Coleman Greene was invited to participate in an event with President Obama at the White House for emerging global entrepreneurs. The event was an opportunity for the President to announce new ways the country can produce $1 billion dollars for emerging entrepreneurs as part of the Administration’s Spark initiative. Providence Health & Services is investing in Sqord through its venture capital arm, Providence Ventures, as part of its commitment to support development of new, health-promoting technology.