Apps for Healthy Kids: Exercising Aliens, Smashing Donuts . . . and Teaching Healthy Habits

July 20, 2010


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By Mark Bishop, Deputy Director

I am fascinated by the
intersection of technology and health. On one hand, we want to limit
screen time for all of us — we are already way too sedentary. However,
we can use technology to educate, engage and encourage decisions that
promote health. Take
Dance Dance Revolution, Wii Fit, or even simple games
that promote movement (like
this one that my son tried on a
cold winter day.) Technology is one more tool we can use to promote
wellness.

A few months ago, the USDA launched a
contest to encourage the development of health-promoting games:
Apps for Healthy Kids. I loved the idea and
I was looking forward to seeing what came out of it. Well, the entries
are rolling in. And many of them are great.


The contest includes
way too many  games for me to try out or even list. But I gave a few a
whirl and I was impressed. I must admit that I’m partial to entries
submitted by students rather than commercial interests.


So take a look at this
one:
Food Flight OS. It has beautiful
drawings and is super creative: you need to feed and exercise an alien
to help him get home.


Or how about a gross-out visual of how much
sugar, fat and salt is in your food the in
Smash Your Food game? (It is really
satisfying to watch a hamburger getting mushed up!)


Or how about Food Hero, where you need to
feed your character a balanced meal, exercise to gain strength, and buy
equipment so you can get better and stronger?


Be sure to check out
the entries that are coming in and
vote for your
favorites
.
Maybe the next great developers will make their start here. Maybe we’ll
see our kids online learning about health and wellness. (And maybe, at
the very least, we’ll all get to see what it looks like to smash up a
jelly donut without having to get our own hands sticky.)

Plus: Check out our
related post from December ‘09:
Gaming for
Health: Can Online Games Transform 'Tween Eating Habits?