Oxil launches app to tackle growing youth obesity

The Australian tech company released a new interactive platform to boost the health and well-being of adolescent children

Australian tech company Oxil has launched a new app to boost the health and well-being of adolescent children by enabling them to track food intake, level of activity and potentially, break bad habits.

With 1000 students from South-West Victoria already on-board its trial, the ‘Challenger App’ offers a competitive-style platform where users can challenge friends or family using the app, reaping rewards and points for newly acquired good habits.

To boost the engagement factor, the app leverages gesture-based surveying, machine learning for identifying habits, intuitive and suggestive algorithms, and instant feedback to the students so they can learn about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

"Most health apps focus on either nutrition, fitness or mental health, but not on all three. We wanted to give students the ability for instant and accurate feedback about what's going on in their body," Oxil managing director, Archie Whiting, said.

Prior to its official launch, a local focus group in Hamilton were given a special trial to test the Challenger App to reduce childhood obesity and improve the overall well-being in adolescents’ aged 10 -16 in their schools. This involved six regional schools and 1000 students with the one goal: To tackle the alarming obesity issue common to this particular part of Victoria. 

The platform was launched following reports of a rise in obesity and weight-related health problems in the region. A 2015 Deakin Report suggested that across five shires of Victoria’s Great South Coast, including Southern Grampian Shire, 37 per cent of boys and 38 per cent of girls in grade 6 were overweight or obese. Additional research out of Deakin University and GenR8Change suggested up to 50 per cent of primary school-aged children are overweight and/or are obese.

“Sugar is the new tobacco,” The Hamilton and Alexandra College’s principal, Dr Andrew Hirst, said. “Children's health is at risk and the experts are telling us that this could be the first generation to experience a shorter lifespan than generations before.”

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