In 2008, 31.7% of all US youth were overweight or obese and these rates are much higher in minority youth. In Southern California, a study of 71,949 youth aged 2-19 found that 37% were overweight or obese. Overweight and obese youth have higher rates of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, metabolic syndrome, depression, suicidal ideation and poor financial and educational achievement in adulthood. Gardening and cooking interventions have shown great promise in improving the health of children, but it is hard to scale these wonderful programs fast enough to pause and reverse the obesity epidemic in youth. CM&BHC is lucky to be part of a wonderful team of people who are working hard to develop a virtual gardening and cooking game suite that will cross multiple platforms. Project Virtual Sprouts is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is a collaboration between the Keck School of Medicine, School of Cinematic Arts, Viterbi School of Engineering, Rossier School of Education and the Institute for Creative Technologies.
Virtual Sprouts will touch the lives of children in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade at the USC Family of Schools, at the California Science Center and in clinics and hospitals throughout LA county and beyond. We hope children and their families will fall in love with gardening and cooking and that it will inspire a new generation of curious, healthy and confident children who will bring their skills from the screen to their dinner table. We are trying to reach over 200,000 children and you can help us do that by being a playtester, designer, artist, programmer and thoughtful observer as we go through a process of prototyping.
Will you join our team?