We all have some bad habits. Whether it be our coffee addiction, our pizza obsession, or our lack of motivation to exercise. Studies show that we develop these bad habits in our youth. During the Health panel on Friday, we were intrigued to hear about the struggle with the aging population and technology, but thought it might be more effective to attack this problem at its core. What if we prevented most of the non-inherited diseases people gain throughout their life? We took a stab at this question with our interactive, youthful, and friendly game, called HealthyHabits. HealthyHabits is a virtual experience that simulates a normal day for a child and rewards him or her for making healthy sleep, diet, and exercise choices. Our lovable character, Polly the Panda, provides helpful tips, feedback, and encouragement to live a healthier lifestyle.

Now, you might ask: aren't parents supposed to teach their children good habits, isn't that their job? Although some parents are successful with creating a healthy lifestyle for their children, that is not the case with many. My mom has a friend who once handed her 2-year old child with an iPad to keep her busy… a 2-year old. If a minor is more-so being influenced by technology, then shouldn't we try to make something that promotes a positive impact in their life? Another concern you might have is that not everyone has VR. To put it simply, virtual reality gaming is growing more and more popular by the second, and it is the future - just look at the newest Steven Spielberg movie. If we had some more time to expand our game, we would add brushing teeth, washing hands, transportation safety, emotional health, water intake, relaxation time, and consistent medication use. The HealthyHabits' mission is to teach young minds to prioritize their health, so that they will have a solid foundation to make healthy decisions in the future. Unhealthy lifestyles eventually add up. The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion. For heart disease, though, it is estimated that by 2030, medical costs are projected to rise to more than $818 billion. HealthyHabits aims to prevent these unfortunate diseases from occurring or at least growing at such a rapid rate.

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