The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Apps for Healthy Kids

Posted in
Eat better

Friday, Oct 22, 2010


In a previous blog we discussed how computer games can promote both unhealthy and healthy lifestyle choices (eating, physical activity) in children. To promote the development of healthy games First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to end childhood obesity recently created the Apps for Health Kids competition. Apps for Healthy Kids challenged software developers, game designers, students, and other innovators to develop fun and engaging software tools and games that drive children, especially "tweens" (ages 9-12) to eat better and be more physically active. Submissions were due in June 2010 and the winners were recognized last month (September 2010). Criteria for best tool and best game included: quality, accuracy, and content of message, potential impact on target audience, and creativity and originality.

Take a look at the winners and let us know what you think! 

Tools Category

  • First Place: Pick Chow - allows children to create meals by dragging and dropping food onto their virtual plate -
  • Runner Up: PapayaHead - a family Meal Planning web site that allows each family member to fill out a unique profile of likes, dislikes, allergies, and unique nutritional requirements -
  • Honorable Mention: The Snack Neutralizer - a tool designed to open up student’s eyes to the consequences, both good and bad, associated with what they eat -
  • Popular Choice Winner: Tony's Plate Calculator - an online tool that can help you calculate the nutritional values for a single item, an entire recipe or a full day's worth of food -
  • Corporate Recognition Award: Hungry Hiker Build a Meal - ties physical activity with good eating habits in a fun and engaging way, as you build a balanced meal to fuel a hiker to the summit -
  • GE Healthyimagination Student Award: Work It Off - mobile application for Android phones that teaches children the correlation between the calories they eat and the calories they burn -
Games Category
  • First Place: Trainer - gives players the responsibility of caring for creatures who all have dietary and fitness needs -
  • Runner Up: Fitter Critters - a game where children are given responsibility to make nutritional choices for a virtual pet -
  • Honorable Mention: Smash Your Food - lets children see and hear foods like a milkshake, or a burger, explode - while learning how much sugar, salt and oil their favorite foods are hiding -
  • Popular Choice Winner: Food Buster - asks players to carefully stack food items that don't break the scale -
  • Corporate Recognition Award: Food Hero - the goal of the game is to become a Food Hero by eating right and completing a set of running, biking and swimming challenges -
  • GE Healthyimagination Student Award: Trainer (see above)
Early next year The Cooper Institute will be pilot testing a 3D healthy lifestyles computer game in 14 Texas public elementary schools as part of NUTRIGRAM. NUTRIGRAM, an interactive, web-based educational site for schools (students in grades 3-5), teachers, and parents is currently being developed and will include nutrition knowledge and eating behavior challenges with a 3D, game-based learning center for use in classrooms or at home, empowering students to eat well and move more, while having fun. NUTRIGRAM is part of The Institute's Our Kid's Health Initiative to improve children's health by reducing childhood obesity. For more information on Our Kid's Health go to: