Digital creatives, clinicians and public health professionals have today (11 May 2016) converged on the Health X Hackathon event in Manchester to seek innovative solutions to help children eat more healthily and be more active.
The 2-day event, run by Public Health England (PHE), comes as figures from its Change4Life Sugar Smart app and One You ‘How Are You’ quiz show huge public demand for digital tools that help them make healthier lifestyle choices.
Currently, over a third of 10 and 11 year olds are overweight and just 21% of boys and 16% of girls meet the national recommended level of 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Ideas from the hackathon could be developed into full digital solutions that help children address these issues.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, TV Doctor Xand Van Tulleken, Manchester Digital Council, Tech North, Manchester NHS, Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network are all supporting the event. Children from the coding club at Mesne Lea Primary School will also be on hand to share their views on the ideas being generated.
Jane Ellison, Minister for Public Health, said:
We want to empower people to make informed and healthy choices. Technology now has a central role in most of our lives and we want to use the benefits it can offer to help children be healthier and happier. I am looking forward to the ideas that emerge from the PHE Health X Hackathon.
Professor Kevin Fenton, Executive Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, said:
“The popularity of our Sugar Smart app and ‘How Are You?’ online quiz show how much demand there is for digital solutions to public health issues. The internet is in the palm of most peoples’ hands, so there’s no better time for PHE to encourage innovative digital solutions. I look forward to seeing what ideas come out of the Health X Hackathon this year.”
TV Doctor Xand Van Tulleken, known for presenting Doctor in Your House and How to Lose Weight Well, said:
More and more children and families are risking grave long-term health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers due to being overweight and obese. We have to find new and creative ways to help address the problem. From using new wearable tech devices to developing apps and online tools, the possibilities from new technologies to encourage children to have a balanced diet and be more active are endless.
Sheila Mitchell, Director of Marketing at PHE, said:
PHE is committed to developing and bringing to market innovative, evidenced based, easy to use and affordable digital solutions that will help people to live healthier lives. The Health X Hackathon is just one way that we are ensuring we are continually gathering the best ideas, in this case to help children eat more healthily and be more active. We hope that these ideas will feed into the development of the next generation of PHE branded digital solutions.