According to the CDC, Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Educators are in a powerful position to encourage healthy lifestyle habits by having conversations around health and wellness. With the rise of mobile technology, the team at UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science have used this platform to launch a series of health education apps aimed at children. In their latest app they take on the topic of Type 2 Diabetes, by creating an interactive, first person educational story called, “I Got This.”
Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases globally with close to 300 million people currently afflicted. The disease is especially problematic within minority and lower class communities where access to information about the repercussions of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle is limited.
I Got This as a game that focuses on helping kids understand and cope with type 2 diabetes - not just the science, but also the social issues that go along with the disease. The goal with I Got This is to show kids that although serious, type 2 diabetes can be overcome through lifestyle choices and strong support from family and friends.
Apps like these can give educators and parents a great opportunity to discuss and more importantly allow students to investigate foods and healthy habits. Both as children and adults we don’t always reflect on what we are eating and impact it can have. For example, we think salted peanuts might be great, because they are nuts, or salads are fantastic without thinking about the dressing and other ingredients, because well it’s a salad so it must be “healthy!”
These apps also serve as a great exemplar for students to develop their own teaching tools on other diseases or issues. This can be a great way to inspire students to become advocates for what they are passionate about sharing with others, while providing them with a platform to share their creative work with the world.