Blake Squires' wife, a school teacher and a mother of three, was shocked when she read a magazine article about the high rate of childhood obesity in America. "She said we had to do something about it," said Squires. And he did.
In early 2010, he developed MOVband, a line of brightly-colored wristwatch-style devices for kids modeled after pedometers. But rather than count steps only, a MOVband tracks a full range of kid's movements -- jumping, running, dancing -- and converts them into mileage.
To encourage schools to offer the product to students, Squires developed the "MOVband Challenge," a 21-day competition where participants strive to reach 100 miles in three weeks. The strategy worked.
Fifty schools nationwide have undertaken the MOVband challenge since October, Squires said, and they've reported a 25% increase in activity among kids. Participating schools pay for the MOVband devices, priced at $19.99 each, and also receive guidelines on administering the program.
Squires' goal is to ship one million MOVbands by the end of 2013, primarily to schools. He's sold 30,000 so far. He's also struck deals to distribute MOVbands in schools in the United Kingdom and Australia to help achieve that goal.
"With so many schools cutting back on physical education, I think this program is a great way to encourage group-based activity for kids," he said.
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