World Health Organisation, FIFA and Qatar launch gamified movement tracking app | Sports management

World Health Organisation, FIFA and Qatar launch gamified movement tracking app |  Sports management

By Frances Marcellin November 22, 2022

The app works on phones and tablets and smart TVs / Shutterstock/jittawit21

Sport for Health, a collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO), FIFA and the Qatari Ministry of Public Health, has released an app called Gen Move Season 1 to coincide with the World Cup in Qatar, with l goal of increasing physical activity among millions of children around the world.

Game developer G13R, who created the myKicks mobile skill measurement app during the 2018 World Cup, is behind the product development. The company is already experimenting with the release of Gen Move Season 2.

Gen Move gamifies physical activity to help motivate movement in 8-15 year olds by combining AI with motion tracking to deliver vigorous video games that require a physical response. There are more than 50 games available on the app, each with six skill levels.

WHO recommends that children and adolescents should get about 60 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, as well as activities that strengthen muscles and bones at least three times a week, but states that more than 80% of children and adolescents adolescents do not meet these guidelines. They may also spend more than eight hours a day sedentary, resulting in poor fitness, weight gain, and decreased sleep.

“Regular physical activity has great lifelong benefits for physical and mental health and is essential for the healthy development of children,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general. “This type of digital innovation can be a powerful tool to reach young people and get them moving, especially children who may not play sports on a regular basis.”

During installation, users place their phone or tablet on the floor, so the app can register their form. Then they choose an avatar, such as a tiger or a mouse to represent them. Gen Move gameplay inspires physical movement, with categories including Jump, Upper Body, Chomp, Space Blast, Zone Runner, and Danger Zone. By playing the game, users can earn currency which can be used to customize their avatar by purchasing clothing and accessories.

Gen Move games are built around popular sports like soccer and feature actions like jumping, reaching and kicking to build kids’ confidence and enjoyment of movement. Games can be played indoors or out and in small spaces.

The app was launched in conjunction with the World Cup to inspire as many children as possible to participate in physical activity. “Qatar is proud to launch this major innovation for children,” said Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Public Health. “We are committed to doing as much as possible to increase physical activity and build the health of young people here in Qatar and around the world.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a hard toll on young people, limiting physical education and school sports,” he said. “Investing in promoting physical activity and leveraging digital technologies to provide fun and new ways to be active is key.”

The app also features the slogan #Bring the Moves, a football-themed FIFA campaign that encourages young people to celebrate their goals during the World Cup.

The launch took place at the “Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge”, which was held for the first time in Qatar.

A recent WHO report, Global state of physical activity report 2022revealed that physical inactivity between 2020 and 2030 will cause nearly 500 million people to develop a preventable non-communicable disease (NCD), costing $300 billion.

“The cost to public health systems of physical inactivity is very high,” says Dr Fiona Bull, head of WHO’s Physical Activity Unit. “Therefore, getting children to enjoy being active and build daily habits is critical to preventing future noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and many types of cancer.”

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