A key finding from ENACT was that parents and youth reported being over-scheduled in ways that limit options for healthy meal preparation, meaning that healthy eating was often sacrificed due to the scheduling of leisure-time physical activities.
In 2012, the TIME (Tools, Information, Motivation and Environment) for Health study, built on the findings of ENACT to better understand how families could be supported to adopt healthy eating habits when faced with time pressures. TIME for Health led to the development of a prototype app. Based on user testing, we simplified the app for user benefit and functionality, leading to the development of Froogie.
Froogie is the result of multiple research projects exploring youth health. Learn more about how Froogie was developed.
Between 2007-2017, a team of researchers at the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University received funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to better understand how diet and physical activity behaviours impact youth health.
The first study, called Environments, Nutrition and Activity (ENACT), aimed to understand the role of the built environment (e.g., land mix, walk-ability, recreation facilities) in contributing to youth obesity in Halifax, Canada.
Highlights of the Froogie App
History of the name: Blending of the words "fruits" and "veggies"
Selection of Characters: Efforts were made to ensure gender neutrality and cultural inclusion for Froogie characters to be broadly appealing and inclusive
Learning Opportunities: Notifications appear to encourage users to eat and track vegetables and fruits, such as fun facts and tips to incorporate vegetables and fruits into daily routines
Motivation to Track: As users track their daily intake, new Froogie characters are available
Embedded health goals: the App is designed to create a 60% vegetable to 40% fruit ratio of daily servings to ensure a healthy balance of both
Shearer S, Blanchard C, Dummer T, Lyons R, Rainham D, Kirk SFL. (2015). Measuring food availability and accessibility among adolescents: Moving beyond the neighbourhood boundary. Social Science and Medicine, 133: 322-330.
Chircop A, Shearer C, Pitter R, Sim M, Rehman L, Flannery M, Kirk S. (2013). Privileging physical activity over healthy eating: 'Time' to Choose?. Health Promotion International. 30 (3): 418-426
Rainham DG, Bates CJ, Blanchard CM, Dummer TJ, Kirk SF, Shearer CL. (2012). Spatial classification of youth physical activity patterns. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 42(5): 87-96.
Shearer C, Blanchard C, Kirk S, Lyons R, Dummer T, Pitter R, Rainham D, Rehman L, Shields C, Sim M. (2012). Physical activity and nutrition among youth in rural, suburban and urban neighbourhood types. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 103(9 Suppl 3): S55-S60.