Chennai-based company launches an app to educate children about healthy food choices: With childhood obesity becoming a concern in India, the Chennai-based company has launched a mobile dietary app to educate children about healthy food choices.
“We have been working on this mobile application for the last 11 years. We decided to engage children in this important topic in a fun way,” said Bhargav Shri Prakash, founder of FriendsLearn, who developed the mobile app.
The company, which has an R&D office in San Francisco, recently reported the results of a trial that showed that the fooya! app was able to induce healthy eating and lifestyle habits among 104 children aged 10 to 11.
Shri Prakash hit the idea after he became a parent and saw the impact of advertising on his children’s eating habits. “I noticed that they were making decisions about food that was not in the best interests of their health,” he said.
“We are teaching children how to avoid processed foods with our neuroscience approach,” adds Shriprakash. “We need to engage children in a fun way about a very important subject without feeling bored.” The clinical study, published in the journal JMIR mHealth and uHealth, showed that only 20 minutes of gaming time a week had a strong positive impact on children’s food choices when polled immediately after the game.
In fooya!, the avatar fights against robots that represent unsanitary/bad food, with the aim of maintaining a good body shape for the avatar and earning enough coins to win the level and unlock the next stage. Avatars perform better if they eat healthy food and move a lot, and are slower and heavier as they consume more calories.
Arathi, the mother of the daughter who used the FriendsLearn mobile app, says: “As a parent, we need to take care of children’s health, and the game is very useful to them. I think this is the best game for children’s health care. I’m so happy that it’s played by my daughter.”