Originally published Aug. 26, 2013
In its continuing efforts to connect more people with more resources to end the state's childhood obesity epidemic, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is now calling upon Georgia's brightest young minds to be a part of the solution through the use of technology.
DPH has partnered with the Technology Association of Georgia Education Collaborative, Inc. (TAG-Ed), the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) and the Verizon Foundation to offer a unique contest encouraging participants to develop a healthy lifestyle mobile app as part of this year's TAG-ed Health IT Student Innovation Award contest.
The contest seeks apps that connect Georgians with opportunities, information and resources to prevent childhood obesity. It also gives participants the opportunity to develop the official mobile applications for Georgia SHAPE, Gov. Nathan Deal's statewide comprehensive childhood fitness and nutrition program.
"Mobile app technology connects us with more real-time, relevant information than ever before. And we know our young people are already learning and conversing in this mobile environment," said DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. "If anyone understands how to make the connection between technology and childhood obesity, it's our young people."
The contest - open now to student teams anywhere in Georgia - offers $1,000 cash prizes and an opportunity for finalists to present their application at the Health IT Leadership Summit to be held at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on Nov. 12, 2013. High school student teams are challenged with building a mobile app and middle school teams will create a mobile-optimized website.
"Research tells us obese children will grow to become obese adults who will face a variety of life-threatening conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, among others," Fitzgerald said. "We're hopeful our young people will point us toward solutions rooted in promotion of healthier lifestyles, including opportunities for better meal choices and increased physical activity."
Georgia ranks 17th in the nation for childhood obesity, third in the nation for prevalence of overweight children and 10th nationally when combining both factors. Recently, Georgia SHAPE launched "Power Up for 30," a public outreach initiative to promote an additional 30 minutes of physical activity in every Georgia elementary school.
Contest entries must be submitted to TAG-ed by noon on Sept. 30, 2013. Complete contest information can be found on TAG-ed's website: http://bit.ly/HealthIT13.
-Story by DPH Communications