FUTURE MINDS: Flyn Abercrombie, Matthew Harris, Thomas Payne and Shreya Tekumalla.
FUTURE MINDS: Flyn Abercrombie, Matthew Harris, Thomas Payne and Shreya Tekumalla.

Local kids to test Healthy Lifestyle app

LOCAL Year 4 students from across the Hervey Bay region are invited to test new app software at Fraser Coast Regional Library on August 19.

Silicon Coast Extracurricular Code School director Ann Moffatt said SCXCS developed the Healthy Lifestyle App on behalf of Hervey Bay Sunrise Rotary Club and the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre.

"The app was developed following a request from Danny Mattsson from the local Hervey Bay Sunrise Rotary," Ms Moffatt said.

"I understand rotary did a study on how to address childhood obesity and found that if Year 4 children are taught healthy eating and exercising habits it lasts them a lifetime."

Mr Mattsson said the app would be released this September, and was confident for local success, before being picked up nationally and globally, in a bid to change the eating habits of young children, who could influence their parents to make better choices too.

"We've seen this model work for recycling and smoking, where children learn about recycling at school, and smoking through advertising."

He explained children repeated the message to their parents, ultimately convincing them to recycle correctly, or quit smoking, having a huge impact in these areas and they were confident the model would work via this app to help curb obesity.

"Obesity is a global problem, when Rotary looked into the statistics they're overwhelming and it not only puts a straight on our health system, but it costs the community a lot of money."

Ms Moffat said not only did Rotary plan to distribute the app on a global scale, the National Health and Medial Research Council requested an official reference to their website, nrv.gov.au, as the information was inline with their guidelines.

"The organisations need students to try and find as many bugs as they can, and the one who finds the most will win a $50 iTunes voucher," she said.

"The developers say there are no bugs, but there is a theorem in computing that once the last bug is found in an app, there is still one more to find."

Ms Moffatt said not only would children be testing the app, children had also developed it.

"Four of our students, Thomas Payne, Shreya Tekumalla, Matthew Harris and Flyn Abercrombie have worked for nearly 18 months to build the app," she said.

"During the design phase they involved two local psychologists to ensure the app would engage the grade four kids, and a local dietician at the hospital gave advice on dietary aspects.

"We also have a grade-four reference group, of real grade four kids, who advised on whether they liked the design and would play the game.

"Those kids also had the job of testing the app to ensure it met their requirements.

"The team now thinks they have corrected all the bugs and the app is ready for intensive testing."

Mr Mattsson said many people in the community had come together to donate their time and expertise to the development of this app.

"At this stage we have probably only spent $200 on this project, with thanks to Ann's young team, who have worked for about 18 months to get it to this stage."

Mr Mattsson said if everything went to plan, the country could see real changes in obesity statistics within five to 10 years.

Students don't need to register and can just turn up to Fraser Coast Library, 161-179 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay on August 19, at 10am and the testing will run until noon.

Ms Moffatt said the library had devices on which kids could do the test, but if they wanted to take the app home for free, they would need to bring their own Apple device, whether it be an iPhone, iPad of MacBook.