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Government United States Games Politics

Apps For Healthy Kids — Where PC Meets PCs 186

theodp writes "Put the Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and Madden away, kids! Over at Apps for Healthy Kids, First Lady Michelle Obama has a whole new slate of games for you to play with! Voting on entries in the White House-backed game development competition has begun, and you'll find exciting titles like Balanced Meal (6 votes), Blubber Blaster (9 votes), Calorie Quest (10 votes), and Count Peas (7 votes) — and that's just for starters."
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Apps For Healthy Kids — Where PC Meets PCs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 18, 2010 @05:44AM (#32941614)

    While you're at it, be sure to slap books out of their hands.

    Anyhow, I'm just curious. Has anyone run the numbers on increasing kid-lard versus decreasing safe roaming distance around the home?

    (Disclaimers: I read books, and grew up in an city-sized 60s suburb that was entirely safe to let kids roam.)

  • by neumayr ( 819083 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @05:45AM (#32941618)
    I'm sure they've already got their own plans..
    But honestly, there is no real danger. What kid would voluntarily play games with such titles, games designed not for fun, but for indoctrination?
  • Just feed them less (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nten ( 709128 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @05:59AM (#32941640)

    The whole "get out and play" thing is backwards according to this study: []

    Its results would indicate that simply feeding children less will make them less fat regardless of activity level. The lower weight makes them more active. This is consistent with how I finally got the weight of and kept it off (calorie counting while sitting in front of a monitor all day), and its really quite intuitive.

    May I be the first to say.... Thermodynamics *works* bitches!

  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:32AM (#32941734) Journal

    Well, I also use apps to write apps for me. Those apps are usually known as compilers. I give them a description of the program I want to have, in a language they understand (usually known as programming language), and then they write the program I described for me.

  • Simpsons... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Robotron23 ( 832528 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:52AM (#32941778)

    Ah this topic reminds me of when Bart Simpson gets bought, by Marge, a golf game named "Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge" instead of the hip and happening "Bonestorm" which is a Mortal Kombat style beat em' up that all the kids play.

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:53AM (#32941782) Homepage Journal

    Yes, eat less* to lose weight.

    Being lighter makes you feel good on its own as basic things like getting out of a chair and climbing stairs become easier - but getting some form of regular exercise (even just going for a 30 minute walk every couple of days) will make you feel even better.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with gyms as long as you're not using them as an excuse to eat crap. I actually started going to the gym because I wanted to put on weight after losing 20lbs through trying various methods of eating and regular walking. I now eat a low GI diet, not just for weight control but because it helps keep my mood stable when I'm not going through sugar rushes and crashes all the time.

    *eat less shit anyways - you can keep eating the same volume if you just eat less calorific foods. sugar+fat in the same meal is bound to pile on the pounds.

  • by dogsbreath ( 730413 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @07:31AM (#32941864)

    Hmmm, I grew up in the 50s and we roamed the neighborhood in relative safety, but there were also lots of parents around. Two income families were not the norm. My wife or I would take our kids (now teens) to the playground and we would be the only parents in the area.

    There have been a number of significant changes in the way people spend their time and how they interact in the last 50 years. Entertainment content has changed as well. It is simplistic (but fun!!) to blame one thing or another for obesity and violence.

    So here's my 2c: Up to grade 5 or 6, turn off the TV and limit computer time. Go outside and play with your kids. Talk WITH them for a significant part of every day, even if you have something more important to do.

    Especially limit exposure to shows/games that use a lot of sarcasm or display/infer violence. Your kid isn't going to be a serial killer because they play violent games but they do model what they see and if you want them to learn how to interact successfully with others then make sure they see / hear / live in way that is what you consider healthy.

  • Re:Physical games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @07:49AM (#32941926)
    Bring back Prop Cycle []! That thing got me to exercise!
  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:28AM (#32942022)
    I would say they go hand in hand. Kids just need to be outdoors more, playing with other kids -- rather than spending that time eating. Just cutting the snacks out of their diet would make a huge difference, and an easy way to do that is to just not have them stay indoors all day, with snacks readily available.
  • Re:Physical games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @09:21AM (#32942250)

    > What they should really do, is physical games.

    Check out HopeLab, which is a hardware & software shop doing pretty much that, as a public benefit.

    They started with clinical trials of software that was anecdotally doing cool things for cancer patients (Chemo Warrior, or something like that, that roleplayed nuking cancer by taking meds. Results: kids took their meds on schedule.)

    From what I've seen of them (I saw their CEO present once) are committed to a) making the games attractive to kids by doing really good behavioral observation and dialogue and b) doing real clinical trials to evaluate results. Their latest effort is a suit with accelerometers that logs activity then downloads it, earning points, rewards, unlocking levels, etc. They aren't making much noise yet, but they're pretty far along with the hardware (one of their testers took it surfing). I believe the goal is a commercially successful product, perhaps in partnership with another platform. []

    Also, they say the name will change before launch.

  • by eugene ts wong ( 231154 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @04:49PM (#32944984) Homepage Journal

    I'd like add a bit to your last paragraph. I suggest people proactively expose children to people who are problem solving in a polite and respectful way. They need to be exposed to people actually trying to find win-win situations, as opposed to win-lose situation. They definitely need to avoid the lose-lose situations. I think that most people don't really know how to get the win-win situation or how to really co-operate in a collaborative way. It's not just a matter or attitude either.

  • by dogsbreath ( 730413 ) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:28PM (#32946212)

    Spot on, Eugene. Absolutely right.

    You don't have to make up artificial situations: just make sure you carry the right attitude and philosophy in all your dealings. Kids watch what you do and learn from it. They don't have to be force fed healthy behaviour; they need to live in a healthy atmosphere.


  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:18AM (#32947538)
    Well, to be fair, the government (as well as the medical and insurance industries) are batshit insane when it comes to defining "fat", "overweight", and "obese".

    At 5'11" the insurance, medical and government accepted standard, the BMI, says that I would not be "normal" weight until I reached 178 pounds. Just yesterday I was hydrostatically weighed. My lean body mass was 164 pounds. That means that at 8% body fat, I would be considered "overweight" or "fat". This is with virtually no exercise. I build muscle REALLY fast. If I worked out with any kind of weight training for 3 or 4 months, I could easily break the 178 pounds that defines me as "fat" in lean body mass. The BMI would also call my weight "normal" at 133 pounds. The government, medical, and insurance industries declare that not only should I reach 0% body fat (which will kill you by the way), but that to be "normal", I should start deciding what body parts I want amputated. Maybe an arm and a leg would do it. I have to be careful not to choose both legs though, because then I would be "fat" again.

    Just to put it in perspective, this is what the government, medical and insurance industries call "obese". []

    So, is the OP crazy for wanting the government out of the weight loss game, or are the people supporting them?

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