Hasbro and UnitedHealthcare collaborate on ‘Nerf Energy Kits’
By Alex Owens
About 150 San Diego kids now have a chance to see firsthand how exercise can improve their health.
On Dec. 14, UnitedHealthcare donated Nerf Energy game kits to the children, who are members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego.
The presentation ceremony, which took place at the Ron Roberts Family Branch club located in Linda Vista, was part of a national initiative to encourage young people to be more active through “exergaming.”
The kits were made by Hasbro and include activity trackers, soccer balls and mobile games. The purpose of the kits is to get kids moving at a time of the year when sedentary behavior is all too common.
While San Diego’s mild climate might make it easier to be outdoors in the winter, UnitedHealthcare spokeswoman Melissa Stout-Penn said that getting kids to be active is a challenge no matter where they live.
“There are kids you can look at and tell obesity is a problem, or they look fit but their parents are obese,” she said. “This kit helps get moving.”
UnitedHealthcare commissioned 10,000 kits from Hasbro and handed out 1,500 to kids around the nation this past holiday season. The kits include an “energy band” that tracks “energy points” earned whenever a kid exercises. The points then turn into screen time that allow kids to play the Nerf Energy rush mobile game on a smartphone or tablet.
“By exercising more, they can play longer on the game,” Stout-Penn said.
The kits are exclusive to UnitedHealthcare. Hasbro won’t be able to market them for sale until after 2018.
“The kids were excited to get something that is available to very many people,” she said about the gifting ceremony.
Helping the kids understand their energy kits was the program’s mascot, a giant pooch named Dr. Health E. Hound. The Hound, who possibly isn’t a real doctor, led the kids in relay races, jumping jacks and hula hoops to show them how all the exercises would translate to the app included in the kit.
“One little girl was very excited to see that she earned four bands just for the activity she did there,” Stout-Penn said. “She couldn’t wait to show her siblings.”
—Alex Owens is a San Diego-based freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.