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'End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge' Semifinalists Announced

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) announced the 10 semifinalists of its "End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge" today, and it's now up to America to decide on the finalists.

Think of it as the healthy version of "American Idol," if you will.

PHA launched the challenge back in October to cultivate ideas regarding childhood-obesity prevention from the general public. Anyone interested in submitting an idea was invited to complete an online application and submit a two-minute video detailing how it would help in the fight against childhood obesity.

PHA whittled down the list of total applicants to 10 semifinalists by evaluating the originality of the idea, how well it addressed the childhood-obesity epidemic, and if it could be applied to at-risk or in-need children. If the idea met all three criteria, it received a 0-5 point score in six categories, including how feasible the idea would be and how great the potential scale of the idea would be.

From now through Feb. 1, you can go onto the PHA Facebook page and vote for your favorite idea to end childhood obesity.

As of the time of writing, the leading vote-getter was the "Define Bottle" project by 14-year-old Carter Kostler, which is a "really cool looking fruit-infused water bottle" (in his words). Other projects include a video game that promotes healthy eating behaviors, a flash-card system incorporating physical activity with learning, and a project teaching children the benefits of swimming, biking, and running.

"The entries PHA received for the End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge show the exceptional creativity of each idea, and how committed Americans are to reversing this trend," said Larry Soler, the president and chief executive officer of PHA, in a statement. "Great ideas can come from anywhere, and by working together—public and private, individuals, and groups—we can really make a difference."

The top three vote-getters by Feb. 1 will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of judges at the Building a Healthier Future summit in Washington in early March. Each finalist will receive nearly five total hours of guidance from a panel of three advisers before making his or her presentation, according to the terms of the contest.

The ultimate winner of the challenge will receive $10,000, nearly 50 hours of guidance from the panel of advisers, and a chance to pitch the idea to the deputy managing editor of Fortune magazine for a potential article.

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