Student Contest Seeks Technology as a Solution to Help End Childhood Obesity Epidemic
ATLANTA – 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) now calls upon Georgia’s brightest young minds to be a part of the solution through use of technology.
An innovative partnership between DPH, the Technology Association of Georgia Education Collaborative, Inc. (TAG-Ed), the Georgia Department of Education, and the Verizon Foundation now provides a unique contest to use technology to combat childhood obesity in Georgia. This year’s Health IT Student Innovation Award contest challenges students to develop a healthy lifestyle mobile application that connects Georgians with opportunity, information and resources on preventing childhood obesity, and 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 app 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 30 minutes of additional 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.