Think you know all about nutrition and exercise? Try your luck at Food Hero, a new game created by a team at Children’s Hospital Boston.
The free app is competing in a contest initiated by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign (you can vote until Aug. 14), but it’s also part of a larger strategy to use social networking to improve health. Ben Reis, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues previously came up with apps that let your friends know when you give blood (I Saved a Life!) or get a flu shot (I Got the Flu Shot!). (You get the idea.) A future version of Food Hero would post your victories on your Facebook wall, for example.
Complete with stirring music and multiple levels, Food Hero is aimed at kids who are 9 to 12 years old. Its cartoon characters run, bike, or swim, but to do their best they must eat a balanced diet. Eat too little and they droop; eat too much and they almost explode. It’s not as easy as it looks, by the way.