Highlights from the first Hacking Health Cafe


Designers, hackers, nutritionists, students and various professionals gathered yesterday for Hacking Health Milano’s first café to discuss obesity amongst teenagers. This theme is driving the planning of upcoming cafés, and of our hackathon which will take place on May 22 in conjunction with Milano’s 2015 International Exhibition.

How can we monitor what children eat? What tools can be used? How can we raise awareness about healthy lifestyles? These challenges were tackled by experts from Italy’s Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation of the National Research Council, who are following the European project Pegasus – Fit 4 Future.

Technology is a valuable resource for a health lifestyle, but current applications (“apps”) to manage one’s diet are often too complicated, and geared primarily towards adults. These apps also assume the user clearly understands the causality between food and health, and that the user is already motivated to improve his/her diet. Café participants discussed these assumptions, and some students in the audience confirmed that Italian teenagers tend to have little concern about the relationship between their diet and health. An app must be stimulating and entertaining to sustain the attention of teen users.

And so from this first presentation and ensuing conversation, our chapter formulated its first challenge for its May Hackathon:

How might we create stimulating apps that will engage teenagers, and help them change their perceptions of food and health?

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