Student: Joshua Benefield
Addressing a topic that is near and dear to my heart (goodbye 22 pounds) I set out to approach the epidemic that is obesity within the state of Alabama.
Research led me to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Obesity Campaign, and their valuable statistics about not only nutrition in general, but facts related to the state of Alabama, and its residents.
Knowing that traditional print media campaigns have been done to death (no pun intended) it was set that this social aspect should be tackled through the use of an iOS app.
Researching various approaches, I landed on the fact that nearly everyone has a certain type of friend. That type of friend that, whether intentionally or unintentionally makes one feel guilty about something, as they’re either skinnier, doing something to help children, rescuing puppies, whatever it is. Everyone knows someone that bring out that emotion that “Hey, I could be doing something better right now.” That is the focus of this app, to be that friend. That snarky, sometimes annoying, but ultimately helpful friend, to help Alabama and its weight problem.
Why an app you might ask?
Everyone eats, and many people have smartphones. Essentially all people who own smartphones also eat, and let’s assume that they do other things in their life too. At a very minimum, they eat. So by making this app stand in for that annoying, guilt-inducing friend, that person can be with us everywhere.
Everywhere as in, lunch times during the work week, when many Alabama residents are forced to make bad choices about what they will eat, and therefore compromise their health in the long run. So if these bad choices are making Alabama fat, this leads me to the message our app will deliver, and that is making smart choices.
We always hear about diet and exercise. Those are the keys. Going to the gym, and going on a diet. How long does that last? Exactly.
That’s where Fat AL comes in. Fat AL is our snarky virtual friend that will remind us to make those smart choices throughout our day. At lunch time, with the app installed, you will get a friendly reminder, or a not so friendly reminder sometimes, that you better be making a smart choice about what you eat. In addition to this, Fat AL will also check in with you later in the day, at random times, just to make sure you’ve been making smart choices through the day.
Smart choices such as not eating a hamburger every single day you’re at work. Everyone gets a pass on Saturday and Sunday, because let’s face it, diets don’t work, and we’re ultimately talking about making those smart choices. Smart choices don’t end there though, exercise is the other critical component of a healthy lifestyle. How about taking the stairs? Standing up for a few minutes every hour? Parking farther from the door of the grocery store, to walk an extra few steps? Those are all the kinds of smart choices that Fat AL will keep reminding us of.
This is targeted at those wanting to lose weight, with the educational component of reinforcing the smart choices that we can easily make in our daily lives.