First lady Michelle Obama challenged software and video game designers Wednesday to develop games and tools that get kids, especially 9- to 12-year-olds, excited about eating better and exercising more.
The carrot? A chance to share in $40,000 in cash prizes.
The Apps for Healthy Kids contest is part of Mrs. Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign to raise public awareness about the national problem of childhood obesity. One in three U.S. children is overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure or other medical conditions.
Mrs. Obama said kids spend an average of seven and a half hours a day watching TV or playing with computers, video games or other devices.
"Maybe you've seen those dance video games or those exercise games that families are playing together at home, or the ones that kids play using their mobile phones and home computers?" she said at the national Parent Teacher Association conference. "Those are the kinds of games that we're talking about."
A second set of prizes will be awarded for tools designed to help parents make better food choices for their children.
"So if, for example, you're at the grocery store and you're trying to figure out whether one food is healthier than the other, then you can pull up that answer on your iPhone," Mrs. Obama said.
The contest will be run by the Agriculture Department. A panel of judges, including Apple, Inc., co-founder Steve Wozniak, will determine the winners. Entries must be submitted by June 30.
Mrs. Obama also said she will meet next week with food manufacturers to discuss her campaign.
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