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News release: App to help families make healthy food choices

Introducing Froogie – a free, research-informed smartphone app designed to encourage families to eat more fruit and veggies

HALIFAX — The Dalhousie Healthy Populations Institute (HPI) and Heart & Stroke are pleased to launch Froogie (pronounced “froo-jee”) – a new, free smartphone app for families.

Launched at Halifax’s Emera Oval, Froogie is a family-focused app that aims to engage children and parents and help them make healthy food choices. Froogie is the result of several years of research led by HPI’s Dr. Sara Kirk and Dr. Daniel Rainham. Their project, supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and Heart & Stroke, has been exploring how the built environment, diet and physical activity behaviours impact youth health.

"Unhealthy eating is a leading risk factor for chronic disease in Canada,” says Charlotte Comrie, CEO Heart & Stroke, NS and PEI. "We know how important nutrition is and yet our children’s health is threatened; this puts children and adolescents at risk for premature heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some types of cancer.”

Through this research project, Drs. Kirk and Rainham and their team heard from parents and youth that they are overscheduled in ways that limit options for healthy meal preparation. Healthy eating is often sacrificed due to scheduling of leisure-time physical activities.

“Healthy eating and active living are two of the most important things we can do to improve general health and wellbeing,” says Dr. Kirk. “Although there are other things we can do to be healthy, like cutting down on processed foods and sugary drinks and snacks, eating more fruits and veggies is an easy change we can make for a big impact.”

Informed by research, this new, free smartphone app has been carefully crafted to provide a fun and interactive experience for children and families to eat healthily together. A combination of the words “fruits” and “veggies,” Froogie offers tips and reminders to promote daily fruit and veggie intake to help meet age-appropriate goals. Up to nine animated Froogie characters can be earned over time and help encourage families to live life on the veg!

“It’s a struggle to get one of my children to eat fruits and vegetables,” says Kimberley Hernandez, parent of three children. “Froogie is going to be a great way to encourage him and get him engaged in mealtimes. I love the animated characters!”

To learn more or download Froogie: www.froogieapp.com

For more information please contact:

Jane-Diane Fraser
Heart & Stroke
jd.fraser@heartandstroke.ca
613-691-4020