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'End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge' Finalists Announced

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) announced the three finalists of its End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge yesterday, as voted on by the public.

The challenge launched back in October as a way to cultivate ideas regarding childhood-obesity prevention from the general public. Applicants submitted a two-minute video by mid-November explaining how they would help in the fight against childhood obesity, then PHA whittled the list down to 10 semifinalists in mid-December.

After allowing members of the public to vote online for their favorites through Feb. 1, it's down to the final three.

Competing for the grand prize will be:

Aurri Health Network: An online network with an incentive-based system that encourages young people to live healthier (submitted by Jason Dreyzehner; Abingdon, Va.);

Define Bottle: A "really cool-looking fruit-infused water bottle" that could provide an alternative to soda and other sugary drinks (submitted by 14-year-old Carter Kostler; Virginia Beach, Va.); and

JiveHealth: A video game that promotes healthy eating by incorporating what kids eat in the real world within the game (submitted by Dennis Ai; Evanston, Ill.).

Well and Good

The finalists will square off next month at PHA's "Building a Healthier Future Summit" in Washington for a $10,000 grand prize. There, they'll present their ideas to a panel of judges and the summit attendees before the final vote is cast. Summit attendees' votes will count for 40 percent of the total score, and the panel of judges will make up the remaining 60 percent.

Each of the three finalists 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. Each finalist will be responsible for submitting a two-page summary to PHA by Feb. 27 explaining what makes his approach different and describing the scalability of their effort.

Whoever wins the contest will receive, in addition to the money, 45 hours of guidance from the panel of advisers and the chance to pitch his idea to the deputy managing editor of Fortune magazine for a potential article.

"The End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge has shown that everyone can have a role to play in battling childhood obesity," said Lawrence A. Soler, president and chief executive officer of PHA, in a statement. "Everyday citizens from a wide variety of backgrounds are clearly as passionate about helping end childhood obesity as the experts are, and PHA is privileged to work with both."

Time permitting, I'll be attending at least one day of next month's summit. First lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to deliver the keynote address on the final day of the summit, March 8.

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