Schools To Monitor Obesity In Students

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Some school districts are monitoring students' activity levels to combat obesity.

BAY SHORE, N.Y. (UPI) — A group of Bay Shore, N.Y., school students will soon be wearing a watch-like device that allows school officials to track how active they are, officials say.

The devices are called Polar Active monitors and they count heartbeats, detect motion and even track students’ sleeping habits in an effort to combat obesity, the New York Post reported Sunday.

“It’s a great reinforcement in fighting the obesity epidemic. It tells kids, in real time, ‘Am I active? Am I not active?’ We want to give kids the opportunity to become active,” said Bay Shore athletics chairman Ted Nagengast.

The monitors are distributed by Polar Electro, of Lake Success, the U.S. division of a Finland firm. They cost $90 each.

School districts in St. Louis and South Orange, N.J., already use the devices, which has raised some privacy concerns, according to the Post.

“When you get into monitoring people’s biological vital signs, that’s a pretty intrusive measurement,” said Jay Stanley, of the American Civil Liberties Union. “There are key privacy interests at play.”

Stanley said parents need to have a say in how long the data will be stored and who will have access to it and schools must obtain parents’ consent.

“A program like this should only be voluntary. Nobody should be forced to reveal biological indicators,” he said.

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