Get Your Kids Moving With Help From Technology
Living in an
increasingly technological world, more and more kids and teens are living predominantly
sedentary lives glued to computers, video games, tv, and cell phones. But it’s
this same technology that one Silicone Valley company is using to motivate kids
and teens to get off the couch and get moving.
Zamzee is an online platform for kids and teens, where points are
awarded based on their daily activity levels. The Zamzee activity meter tracks and measures
a child’s physical activity level throughout the day, which can then be
uploaded online for points that can be used towards gift cards from top
retailers and other prizes.
We talked with the
director of marketing and communications, Richard Tate, to learn more about Zamzee
and how it works.
Can you tell us more about Zamzee’s
Zamzee’s mission is to get tweens and
families to be more physically active.
Studies show that the physical activity of kids drops precipitously
between the ages of 9 and 15. Our goal
is to stop that drop-off and to help make physical activity a part of daily
Where did the original concept come
concept for Zamzee is a mashup of concepts from HopeLab’s Ruckus Nation idea competition and an
internal project called gDitty. Once the
idea was formed, Hopelab began rigorous research, refining key details of the
experience (this work was supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation). Over 350 participants,
across six separate studies, recorded 10,000 days of user activity – all in an
effort to maximize engagement and increase physical activity. The research showed that, on average, Zamzee boosted
activity in kids by more than 30% - that’s equivalent to nearly an extra
marathon a month of running!
Once Hopelab knew
that Zamzee had real impact, they began to explore different ways to make sure
Zamzee reached as many kids as possible.
In 2010, Hopelab chose to launch Zamzee as an independent social
enterprise with the goal of creating a sustainable business that delivers on
Zamzee’s social mission to get kids and families moving more. Initial funding for Zamzee has been provided
by Hopelab, and Zamzee is seeking additional partners to support our work.
Can you tell us more about what Zamzee
is and how it is used?
The Zamzee experience has two main parts –
the Zamzee meter and our website at zamzee.com.
The Zamzee meter is specifically designed to measure the
start-and-stop physical activity of kids, tweens and teens. You can clip your Zamzee to your pants or
belt or just wear it in your pocket.
It’s about the size of a pack of gum and weighs less than one ounce. After a day of moving around, you plug your
Zamzee into your computer and upload your activity data.
The second part of
the experience is at zamzee.com. We have worked hard through the development
process to devise a site that motivates users to keep moving. This is where all that movement turns into
points – and its points that power the online experience. You can track your progress on the activity
graph, level up and earn badges, check yourself out on the leaderboard and turn
your physical activity into rewards you choose from the Zamzee shops, like gift
cards or even an XBox. Once you’ve
purchased a Zamzee meter ($29.95), the experience at zamzee.com is free, but there
are optional ways for parents to put money into their kids’ accounts that will
enable their kids to earn prizes more quickly.
What are some of the largest obstacles
you see in getting kids and teens off the couch and moving more?
Many changes in our
culture today have restricted the amount of physical activity kids get to
experience in a day. More kids drive or
take the bus to school than in the past, PE classes have been cut dramatically
from school’s budgets, and many kids live in neighborhoods where unsupervised
outdoor play is just not an option. Michelle Obama, through Let’s
Move!, speaks to many of the trends in the last 30 years that have led to
alarming rates of sedentary behavior and obesity in our young people.
Kids are also
increasingly raised with technology as a source of entertainment and social
connection. Zamzee uses this engagement
with technology as a force for good – technology that gets kids and families up
and moving and enjoying physical activity as part of their daily lives.
What are some of Zamzee’s fun features
that helps get kids moving?
The Zamzee website
is filled with safe and social features that keep tweens and teens engaged and
moving. An activity graph displays your
progress by day, week, or even by minute.
Best of all, Zamzee rewards you for improving as well as moving – you
get bonus points if you beat your average activity level each day. You also can decorate your avatar, level up,
and earn badges for all sorts of accomplishments, like connecting and uploading
activity data several days in a row.
One of our most
popular features is Whamz – this is like a kid-friendly version of
tweeting. Users combine fun activities with
ridiculous scenarios from different drop down menus to brag about how they earn
their Pointz – like Playing Soccer with Zombies, or Frisbee in the Clouds.
Users can also
take one of our free challenges that ask kids to move a certain amount in a set
amount of time (i.e. earn 20 points in 15 minutes) – and if they succeed they
earn Zamz. Zamz is our online currency
you use to buy rewards.
challenges, kids can turn all of their movement into rewards. Our Zamzee Shops are filled with a wide range
of popular items that tweens and teens love.
We have gift cards from top fashion brands, popular video game titles,
and even top-tier consumer electronics, like iPod Nanos, Xboxes or Nintendo
Since its creation, what kind of statistics
do you have on Zamzee’s effectiveness?
Tweens have spent
over 10,000 days testing and helping to design Zamzee. The results? Zamzee users move +30% more than non-Zamzee
users! As mentioned, that's the same as
an extra marathon per month! There are already about 5,000 registered Zamzee users. Zamzee is also in pilot programs in schools
and community centers in Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, and the San Francisco Bay
Why are tools like Zamzee, and other
gamification technologies, effective in improving people’s health?
Tools that employ
gaming techniques have shown to be great ways to get and to keep users
engaged. It’s exciting to see this
innovation channeled towards positive change, such as increasing physical
activity in tweens and teens.
What’s next for Zamzee?
currently in beta, and we plan to officially launch this fall. In addition, Hopelab, which also partners
with Zamzee in ongoing research, will be announcing preliminary research
findings of a six-month impact study on the impact of Zamzee in physical
activity and kids’ health.
To learn more about Zamzee and to purchase Zamzee activity meters for your family, please visit Zamzee.com.
- Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Instructor, and New Mom, Caitlin Dunlevy from "02befitmom"
- Blogger, Sarah Keil from “The Pajama Chef”
- Getting Back On Track after the Holidays
- 4 Simple Weight Loss Resolutions
- How Organization Can Lead to Better Health
- How You Sit Can Protect You From Injury
- Christine Yu from “Love Life Surf”
- The Unhealthiest “Healthy Foods”
- Professional Health Coach, Andrea Ratulowski from “Food Embrace”
- How to Keep a Kitchen Clean and Healthy
- Surprising Tips for Weight Loss
- Madeline Glasser from “Food, Fitness, and Family”
- How to Cheat on your Diet and Still Lose Weight
- 4 Ways to Alleviate Stress
- Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illness
- Certified Personal Trainer, Courtney Moore from “Petite Athleat”
- Putting Myths About Sleep to Bed
- Lifting Weights: Increase Muscle Strength, Not Bulk
- Blogger, Katie Unger from “Yes I Want Cake”
- Protect Your Knees with PEP
- The Best and Worst Breakfast of Them All
- Everything You Need to Know about Leg Cramps
- Energy Drinks: Less Health Benefits Than You Think
- Food Blogger, Rachel Nobrega from, “Reckless Abandon”
- Acai Berries: Antioxidant Powerhouse?
- Why You Should Start a Food Journal
- Foods that are Surprisingly High in Sodium
- Presley S. from the blog, “Run Pretty”
- Mindfulness: Staying in the Present May Have Health Benefits
- Step Your Exercise Up with a Pedometer
- Snack Foods Under 50 Calories
- After the Deluge, Safe Food and Water
- Registered Dietitian, Erin Coates from "The Healthy Apron"
- Holly from, "The Healthy Everythingtarian"
- Fall Got You Down? Boost Your Omega-3s
- 3 Ways to Prevent Fitness Fatigue
- Light Box Therapy Relieves Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD
- Nutritionist, Emily Dingmann from “A Nutritionist Eats”
- Treating and Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Seasonal Affective Disorder May Respond to Exercise
- Katie Farrell from "Dashing Dish"
- Tricks To Energize your Mornings
- Mood Boosting Foods
- Protect Your Vision and Eye Health
- Marathon Runner, Karen Seal from “Just Me & My Running Shoes”
- Reap Your Health Harvest This Autumn
- Cookbook Author, Stephanie Stiavetti from "The Culinary Life"
- Should You Take Multivitamins?
- 3 Things You Should Never Do to Lose Weight
- Health Blogger, Nicole from "Apples and Arteries"
- Your Eyes Tell Your Health Story
- Work Around Autumn Allergies For Your Workouts
- Running Coach, Jessica Hofheimer's "Pace of Me" Blog
- Eco-friendly Grocery Totes Linked to Foodborne Illnesses
- How to Choose the Right Gym
- Fall Into Autumn Workouts
- Sugarfree Alex from Health Blog, "Spoonful of Sugar Free"
- What Can Protein Powder Do For You?
- Blogger, Kelly Davis from "Foodie Fresh"
- Why the Elliptical Machine is a Great Workout
- Why You Should Ride A Stationary Bike
- Certified Yoga Instructor, Whitney Olson from "Live Run Love Yoga"
- 3 Amazing Perks of Oatmeal
- Improve Your Health, Quit Sitting Around
- Erica Lukes from "For the Sake of Cake"
- Gain New Perspective of your Body with Pilates
- Eye-Healthy Nutrition – Which 3 Foods Help
- Certified Health Coach, Brittney from "Brittney Breathing"
- Burn More Calories with Strength Training
- Work Out Against Osteoporosis
- Susan Lacke, writer for "No Meat Athlete"
- The Dangers of Diet Soda
- How Losing 10lbs Improves Memory
- Yes, You Can be Pregnant and Fit
- Fitness Trainer, Lindsey LeGrande from “Lifestyle by Lindsey”
- Why You Should Eat Tomatoes
- Climb Your Way to Fitness
- Blogger, Amanda Maguire from "Pickles & Honey"
- Study: Shorter, More Vigorous Workouts Are Healthier
- How Yoga Keeps Your Mind Strong and Your Mood Up
- Exercising with Type 2 Diabetes
- Marathon Runner, Heather Montgomery from "Running with Sass"
- The Truth about Caffeine
- Sun Torke from “Eat. Host. Run. Style.”
- 4 Fundamental Foods for Runners
- Alysha Witwicki from “She’s on the Run”
- Don't Let a Wheelchair Deprive You of Fitness
- Report Reveals Americans Waste Over $2k on Food per Year
- Health Blogger, Jocelyn Steiber from "Peace Love Nutrition"
- 3 Bad Habits Making You Fatter
- How to Boost Your Metabolism
- Detect Diseases with Your Hands
- Health Blogger, Caitlin Boyle from "Healthy Tipping Point"
- Food Blogger, Jess Thomson from “Hogwash”
- Drink Green Tea and Hit the Health Jackpot
- How to Overcome Weight-Loss Plateaus
- Glenneth Reed's Health Blog, "Let's Talk and Walk"
- Stretching Misconceptions
- The Health Benefits of Nature's Sugar
- Climb Your Mountain Indoors
- Suspension Training: Intensive Workout Anywhere
- Build a Glow with Self-Tanner
- The Meaning Behind Hunger Pains
- Allison Smith - Accessible Backyard. Vote for her!
- Teri Zawrotny from “A Foodie Stays Fit”
- Olympic-Inspired Workouts
- Try Rebounding! A Fun and Healthy Exercise
- Olympic Women's Gymnastics Have a Great History
- Don't Let Chlorine in Pools Damage Your Hair and Skin
- Get Slim, Get Healthy: Beat Metabolic Syndrome While You're At It
- Protect Your Electrolyte Balance in the Summer Heat
- Health and Fitness Blogger Tori from FITori
- Shiatsu Massage: Finger Pressure Brings Increased Health
- Is Your Child's Activity Right For Them?
- How Do You Get Your Child To Love Being Active?
- What Can I Expect When I Go For A Massage?
- The Benefits of Sports Massage
- Meredith:Triathlete & Author of "Triathlon for the Every Woman"
- Slow Down As Temperatures Spiral Up
- Personal Trainer and Healthy Living Blogger Jillian from "The Sprinkle Massacre"
- Don't Let Food Poisoning Spoil Your Summer Picnic
- Avoid Back Pain on a Recumbent Bike
- Avoid Heat Stroke and Stay Hydrated!
- Personal Trainer and Stanford University Softball Alum Jess Allen
- Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean
- How to Keep It Cool When Running in the Heat
- Healthy Tips, Recipes, and More with Janetha from "meals & moves"
- What to Bring When You Go Backpacking
- Make Your Bike The Right Fit and Go For a Spin
- Fit Foodie Caitlin Croswell from Cait Plus Ate
- Baseball Gear That Fits Like a Glove: A Woman's Glove
- Women of Baseball: Did You Know?
- Running Towards a Healthier You
- Healthy Eating with Anne from Fannetastic Food
- Get Your Kids Moving With Help From Technology
- Inject Some Sun and Fun Into Workouts At the Beach
- Top Training Tips with Jocelyn from The Enthusiastic Runner
- Surf's Up: What's Your Ride?
- PMS Symptoms Are No Joke
- Going to the Dogs: The Key to Regular Exercise
- Rosemary-Roasted Chickpea Salad
- Clean Eating Author and Blogger Tiffany McCauley
- Personal Trainer and Blogger Courtney Horan From Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life
- Living the Good Life with Katie Gagliano from Healthy Diva Eats
- Run Like a Girl: Lozilu Women's Mud Run
- Environmental Working Group Issues 2012 Sunscreen Guide
- Tennis Racquets: What's the Difference?
- Almond Butter Granola
- Healthy Living and Vegan Eats with Heather Waxman
- Getting the Most Out of Your Workouts: Optimal Performance Training
- Get On That Water And Ski!
- Certified Personal Trainer Hope Nagy
- Looking for Some Motivation? Read About Katie's Amazing Weight Loss Transformation!
- Julie Fagan from Peanut Butter Fingers
- Founder of She Rocks Fitness Katie Uhran
- Picking the Right Sunglasses to Protect Your Sight
- Don't be Afraid to Come Out of the Water This Summer
- Healthy Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream from The Beauty Bean
- Bikini Competitor and Fitness Blogger Kasey Arena
- Emancipation of Women From the Skin Out: Evolution of Action Wear
- Female Athlete Triad Has No Winners
- Monika from Fit Foodies Healthy Life
- How To Stop Your Sweet Tooth
- Women on the Run at the Boston Marathon
- Health and Fitness Blogger Danielle Wolfe from "Eat, Sweat, Smile"
- How to Get Fit This Summer
- Don't Fear the Summer
- Personal Trainer, TV Host, and Fitness Model Carissa Bealert
- Reducing Muscle Pain From Workouts
- Journaling Your Thoughts And Your Food For Health
- Beginners Learn To Run
- Personal Trainer and Owner of Best Body Fitness Tina Reale
- Biggest Loser Season 11 Winners Olivia Ward and Hannah Curlee
- Bess Harrington of Bess Be Fit
- Mama Laughlin: Runner, Blogger, and Super Mom!
- Do Yourself a Favor: Get Active for 10 Minutes a Day!
- Should You Get a Heart Rate Monitor?
- Do You Need a Personal Fitness Trainer?
- Blogger and Celebricizer The Skinny Runner
- Spinning Bike or Stationary Bike: What's the Difference?
- Taking A Spin To Greater Fitness
- Walk Away From Depression
- Health Coach and Fitting It All In Blogger Clare Brady
- Belly Dancing: Ancient Fertility Rite Now A Great Workout
- Exercise Away The Baby Weight
- Healthy Living Blogger Meghann Anderson from "Meals and Miles"
- Founder of The Beauty Bean Alexis Wolfer
- Monica Olivas of "Run, Eat, Repeat"
- Branches Of Yoga Increase Flexibility, Strength, and Mood
- Row Your Way To Fitness
- Frisbee Plus Golf Equals ... Disc Golf?
- Inline Skating: Enjoy Life on Tiny Wheels
- The Hungry Runner Girl Janae Jacobs
- Going Hiking? Dressing From the Feet Up
- Next Time Someone Tells You to Take a Hike ...
- Women, Athletics and ACL Tears
- Recognizing Concussion in Female Athletes
- Common Sports Injuries And How to Protect Yourself
- Jumping For Fitness
- Weight Lifting Gloves Make Your Workout Safer, Easier
- Sciatica: How To Ease the Pain
- For an Increased Sense of Security, Try A Sports Bra
- Ankle Weights Can Add Oomph To Your Workouts
- Katie Cooper from "Keeping Up With Katie"
- Spot Reduction: There Are Better Ways To Waste Your Time
- Cradling Your Feet Pays Off
- Healthy Posture Means a Healthier Body
- Women's Achilles Heels are in Their Upper Arms
- Fit Bottomed Girls' Jennipher Walters
- Keeping Fit In Your Fifties
- Keeping Fit In Your Forties
- Integrative Manual Therapy: Bodywork For the Whole Body
- Tennis Elbow, On and Off The Court
- Tennis: What a Racquet!
- The Golfer as an Athlete
- Exercise Can Benefit The Asthmatic
- Scar Tissue And The Inflammatory Process In Healing
- Sports Injuries Eased By TENS and Ultrasound
- Pulled Muscles: Minimize the Pain, Maximize the Healing
- Tapering Your Workouts Can Maintain Your Level of Fitness
- Approaching Exercise Safely After An Injury
- Overtraining Syndrome: How To Recognize It, Avoid It, Overcome It
- Exercising Without Injury
- Staying Fit In Your Thirties
- Staying Fit in Your Twenties
- Body Mass Index: One of Several Indicators of Weight Related Issues
- Medicine Balls: Powerful Workout in a Small Package
- Aerobics: Strengthen Your Heart, Body, and Mind
- Tai Chi: Not Just For Seniors
- Love Water, Love Yourself
- Vegetarianism as a Dietary Choice
- Women and Kickboxing: Getting Aggressive, Getting Fit
- Eating a Healthy Breakfast: Fuel for the Day
- Organic Food: What It Is, and What It Isn't
- Resistance Training With Dumbbells
- Elevating Your Mood Naturally
- Ring In Some New Workouts With Kettlebells
- Get In The Swim With Water Workouts
- Bikram Yoga: Heating Up Your Workouts
- Protein Drinks: Shake 'Em And Go
- Workout: Pilates
- Women And Strength Training: A Perfect Match
- CrossFit for Women: Working Out Like a Girl
- Dancing Your Way To Fitness
- The Quest For Fitness: Braving the Winter Wonderland
- Winter Fitness: Working Out Inside
- Water Workouts: Exercise and Protect Your Muscles At the Same Time
- What's at Your Core: The Benefits of Core Training
- Strength Training May Reduce Many Signs Of Aging
- Health Trends For 2012
- Tips on Staying Fit at the Office
- How to Maximize Fat Burn
- How to Shrink Your Body and Stay Lean
- The Best Way to Burn Your Butt Fat
- Why Some Women Transform Their Bodies and Some Don’t
- Free Weights Are Not Required to Build Muscle, Burn Fat
- 15 Minute Workouts: All the Time You Need According to New Study
- Back to Basics Workouts
- P90X Workout Schedule
- P90X Workout: A Revolutionary Home Fitness Program
- Healthy Recipe: Saffron Orzo
- Quinoa, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Chive-Infused Oil
- Healthy Recipe: One Dish Poached Halibut and Vegetables
- Healthy Recipe: Easy Pesto Salmon
- Healthy Recipe: Baby Spinach Salad with Candied Hazelnuts
- Wellness: We May Not Be Able To Define It But We Know It When We See It
- The Benefits of Kefir
- Gluten-Free For Celiacs and the Gluten-Intolerant: Amaranth
- Garlic May Offer Healing Properties
- Celiac Sufferers and the Gluten Intolerant Rejoice for Buck Wheat
- 5 Easy Ways to Stay on Track This Holiday Season
- Why You Should Add Interval Training to Your Workout Routine
- How to Make Healthy Goals and Keep Them
- Maintaining Your Health and Fitness Goals While On Vacation
- Seven ways to get—and keep—the motivation to exercise regularly
- How to Identify Organic Food
- Ten Super Foods to Add to Your Diet
- Four Top Reasons Why Exercise is Important for Aging
- Six Essential Vitamins & Minerals for Women’s Health
- Ten Easy Fitness Tips