The Wonder of Me — Challenging Child Obesity
The innovative value of the Wonder of Me is in harnessing the entertainment and play power of digital games to tackle the growing epidemic of child obesity. TWOM builds on the curiosity, competitiveness and need for recognition of 4 to 5 years old children, to motivate them to learn and practice positive decision-making skills regarding their food choices, health and success. The magic of the game keeps children engaged. It is reinforced with structured behaviour-change playful activities, challenging the children to further embed the knowledge. This integrated methodology to be sold-in and to become integral to primary education about health and well-being.
Who might use it/where it might be used?:
TWOM's method and materials are aimed at Reception-Class children, primarily in state-funded schools in economically and socially under-privileged parts of the UK, where child obesity is at least 10% more prevalent and where its destructive impact during Covid-19 is amply documented. In its current iteration it is to be used in the class-room by year-teachers and the children, with supportive take-home materials for use with the family. Once established as a proven methodology, a variant of the games and materials will be developed for the after-school market, YMCAs and healthcare providers, to be used as health education aids.
The Market (B2B, B2C or Both):
Business to Business (B2B)
Sector the idea belongs to:
Why you think there is a demand for your idea?:
Childhood obesity affects 25% of all reception class students, growing to 35% when entering middle school. Life-long illnesses and psycho-social problems are associated with child obesity, which sets up adult obesity with all its related suffering and tremendous costs. In addition, the cost to society, especially. among deprived and minority populations, is incalculable.. Government, companies, healthcare professionals all declare a war on child obesity... B U T, thus far, large-scale public health campaigns, tax initiatives, labelling and advertising bans have all failed to stop the upward trajectory of the stats, let alone reverse them..
Who would be the ideal customers?:
The ideal primary customers are 3000+ head teachers of primary schools, who need to believe that spending an annual subscription fee ( as a percentage of the Pupil Premium budget they control) on a system that helps their pupils be healthier for life and study better, is a worthwhile investment. The modest fee (per school not per person) buys added benefits, access to new games/materials, professional training for teachers in behaviour-change practice, a dedicated community network/platform and publicity programmes that will position their school positively. The secondary customers are institutions -- YMCAs, GP practices, child health focused NGOs
What ideas do you have to reach these customers?:
We believe that head teachers, like other professionals, respond to endorsed recommendations from sources and people they consider to be opinion leaders. We plan to apply the pharmaceutical marketing model of creating expert consensus around the need and the value of innovative approaches to health and well-being learning, publish the consensus opinion in a reputable professional journal and then promote the consensus through professional for a and media, direct mail and personal endorsements in traditional and social media.. Once we establish the TWOM Users School Community thru the subscription model, we expect to use user testimonials and real-impact tracking as promotional content.
How far have you developed this idea?:
We have developed and tested The Change Tree game and its five characters. We have developed all the behaviour-change play activities and drafted the materials that will be needed for the teachers. We have drafted a business plan that reflects the customer and marketing plans as above, but this is a draft that can still change a lo, in case the basic assumptions need to change. We have a plan for a pilot in six schools to evaluate the efficacy of the TWOM methodology. Efforts to fund this pilot have resulted, thus far, in zero funding
What – if any – feedback have you had for this idea so far?:
TWOM is the result of my Harvard Fellowship. It received enthusiastic endorsements from other Fellows and faculty. TWOM'S Advisory Board has supported our thinking and the development of prototypes materials. The game was tested with 200 children over four months of intermittent in-class play, followed by three waves of focus groups. Their purpose was to gauge enjoyment of the game, understand the level of extant knowledge of food, health and their inter-relationship and describe the role and behaviours of the children within the family regarding food choices. . The game was a great success. It emerged as a preferred way to learn and generated enthusiastic ideas for ways to improve and add to it.
What supporting material – if any - would you like to add to your proposal?:
The prototype game in its current format is only available on pilot-ready Amazon Fire units. The best approximation as well as more materials are available on the Wonder of Me website at www.thewonderofme.ccom. There you can also find an executive summary of the focus group research mentioned above, short profiles of the team members and of the Advisory Board. The wonder of Me page on LinkedIn has weekly posts that comment on the myriad topics and opinions around child obesity, as does Edna Kissmann's LinkedIn page as well.
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