Published: 31st May 2019
Chennai-based parent develops an app that gets kids to fight junk monsters and count their calories
Bhargav Sri Prakash tells us about his app Fooya that was established to bring about a healthy lifestyle in every child
Child or parent, I know we all remember family grocery shopping days. All of us, wait! I am pretty sure most of us have either been on the giving or the receiving side of temper tantrums.' Mom, I want this packet of M&Ms'? Or 'Dad, can you buy me that soft drink'? While some parents say the most dreaded two-letter word 'NO' most others would just give in to the temper tantrums and buy their kids all the unhealthy food that they want. There's a third category of parents who buy the kids what they want and then they go ahead and develop a gamified app that helps kids all over the world make a right and healthy choice of foods. Wait, what? Bhargav Sri Prakash falls in the third category. Yes, he is probably the only one in that category.
Launch time: Fooya was first launched as a Facebook App in 2012 at the DEMO Conference in Silicon Valley
What started off as a concern for his baby daughter is now a matter of serious concern for the rest of the world as well. From a qualified engineer from Anna University in Chennai to becoming a health freak dad, Bhargav sure has come a long way. "It all started nine years ago with a little tantrum incident with my daughter. She wanted a cereal box with Dora's face on it, but little did she know how unhealthy the substance inside was. That got me thinking and post a little bit of research I understood that in India diseases like hypertension, diabetes is prevailing in numbers we cannot imagine. Thus the idea to bring about a healthy nutritious lifestyle among children early in life began and we went on to develop 'Fooya' a gamified app that helps children make that choice of a healthy lifestyle," says the founder of the gaming app. This app is going to be launched in schools here in India much to the joy of Indian parents who are going to bid adieu to all their parenting worries, at least with regards to food habits of course!
Health freaks: Studies have shown that Fooya is able to induce children and young adults to improve their dietary choices for overall positive effects on their health
Launching an app and reaching the customer base that you need is not a piece of cake. "This app was developed based on clinically proven and nutrition education and digital vaccine technology. The digital vaccine works in the same way that any normal vaccine would work, this is just a tech-savvy version of the same," he adds. He then tells us why Fooya is important to every child, "The game adapts itself to suit the specific need of a child as it asks for basic information such as height, weight, gender, etc and is not generic in nature. Guess what? It was discovered during a clinical study by researchers at the Children's Nutrition Research Center at the renowned Baylor College of Medicine that after playing Fooya, children randomised to the HGG (Health game Group) now made significantly more healthy choices of snacks. Bhargav was thrilled that nine years of work didn't go in vain. Heck yes! It works. All you parents out there can breathe a sigh of relief now!
I had the opportunity to look through the app and it was a whole new world in itself called Nutrino. This world existed in some kind of parallel universe and guess what the cute little characters that occupy the world (Nutreans) even fight against an evil genius Dr Shtoo. This evil genuis' ultimate goal is to ruin your appetite by throwing unnecessary temptations like sugary food and junk your way. "The peace of planet Nutrino is at stake! The evil scientist Dr Shtoo invaded Nutrino with the fatty, salty, and sugary processed foods to destroy the peace and health of the Nutreans," Bhargav explained. The goal? You must fight for the Nutreans and ensure they receive the nutrients they need. This game works like Xbox.
One user has said, 'I see my son talking a lot more about the calories in the food we eat.' Well, it's awesome that Bhargav is changing a child's life one plate at a time.