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Apps and Game Designers Level Up on Healthy Eating

From left: Peter Rhee, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Communications grabs a few photographs for the USDA Blog as former Washington Redskins Running Back Brian Mitchell competes against brothers Frederick, Antonio and Joseph Blackwell (not shown) in the the computer game, “Smash Your Food.” “Smash Your Food” is the Third Place winning app in the The Apps for Healthy Kids games competition. Frederick won the game and a signed replica Pro Bowl helmet from Mitchell. The Apps for Healthy Kids competition is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. The competition challenges software developers, game designers, students and other innovators to develop fun and engaging software tools and games to urge children, especially “tweens” (children ages 9-12) – directly or through their parents – to eat better and be more physically active. The applications are software tools or games for the web, personal computer, mobile handheld device, console or any software platform available to the public. The winners were honored at the White House, Wednesday, September 29. USDA Photo 10di15067-24 by Bob Nichols.

From left: Peter Rhee, USDA, grabs a few photographs as former Washington Redskins Running Back Brian Mitchell competes against brothers Frederick, Antonio and Joseph Blackwell (not shown) in the the computer game, “Smash Your Food.” “Smash Your Food” is the Third Place winning app in the The Apps for Healthy Kids games competition. Frederick won the game and a replica Pro Bowl helmet signed by Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns and Chris Hope of the Tennessee Titans.

Six months ago the Apps for Healthy Kids competition called upon Americans to design engaging online or mobile games and tools to educate people of all ages about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, this challenge brought together solvers from across the Nation.

Today we celebrated the top teams and developers from ten states that won the 12 competition awards. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra emceed the awards event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Let’s Move! Executive Director Robin Schepper and Fuel Up to Play 60 partner former NFL player Brian Mitchell.

We provided the USDA nutrition dataset and a few guidelines, you added innovation and creativity. In three months, 95 games and apps were submitted from 8 states and the District of Columbia. A panel of esteemed judges determined the winners based on five main criteria, including: potential to impact the target audience, potential to engage and motivate target audience, creativity, and originality.

Support beyond the Let’s Move! team, gaming and development community was outstanding; nearly 45,000 individuals signed on to support the challenge. When it was time to vote, you cast almost 21,000 votes to select Popular Choice winners Food Buster and Tony’s Plate Calculator.

Learning about healthy eating choices is fun for eaters of all ages with games like Trainer where you take care of a creature share in physical activity, develop nutritious recipes for a virtual pet in Fitter Critters or simply smash a slice of pizza or muffin to see how much sugar, salt and oil each contains in Smash Your Food.

The online tool Snack Neutralizer allows you to select a food and evaluate the consequences with required physical activity to balance the caloric intake. Next time I see a chocolate dish, I may think about the 293 stairs it would take to burn off the sweet afternoon snack.

Using interactive webcam technology, University of Southern California students designed the winning game Trainer that challenges players to strengthen an online creature by training alongside it in the real world. This inventive group of students not only swept the Grand Prize in the overall standings, they also took home the GE healthymangination Student Award!

Collaborating with each other, these teams found unique ways to reach new audiences, and inspire others to fight obesity and practice healthy living. Check out the full list of winners on the Apps for Healthy website and try your hand at some of the games and test the winning tools. They’re easy to play, fun and can teach you to make healthier food choices along the way.

As we conclude the Apps for Healthy Kids competition, we hope others are inspired to keep moving. Keep building tools or games that inspire others to lead healthier, more active lives empowered with information. In the spirit of continuing collaboration and innovation, we recently launched the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition, challenging you to team up for healthy – and kid-tested – tasty meals in our schools. Let’s keep the innovation and creativity flowing – keep designing, be creative, and cook up the next winning idea!

2 Responses to “Apps and Game Designers Level Up on Healthy Eating”

  1. Barry Ferguson says:

    This is something all schools should see. It will inspire teachers and students to understand what healthy eating really involves. By making it fun, kids can take what they have learned about healthy eating and formulate their own healthy eating plan with their parents. You can find more information about formulating your own eating healthy plan at:

    http://www.eatinghealthyplan.net

  2. Medford says:

    We love Veggie Bottoms (www.veggiebottoms.com) – A fun, educational app that teaches kids about healthy eatings via a family of interactive fruit and vegetable characters. And 30% of all sales go to the Fruits and Veggies: More Matters non-profit organization!

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