Ben Reis: Healthy Social/ Food Hero

  • United States

Healthy Social/ Food Hero

Online games and apps that leverage social networks to promote healthy behaviors and attitudes, including proper nutrition and exercise.


Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. A global pandemic, it affects both developed and developing nations. In the western world, poor eating habits and lack of education about healthy eating habits lead to a lack of nutrition. In many cases, lack of physical activity is the result of an introduction to media (tv, games, computers) at key ages before 20, which leads to a lifetime of unhealthy habits.


By leveraging the immense popularity and power of social networks, FoodHero’s creators HealthySocial are introducing kids to healthy living habits in a medium they are familiar with. FoodHero is a Facebook-based game that requires children to feed and exercise an avatar. If this avatar is well fed, it’s strong and healthy enough to compete in sports challenges and work to become a “Food Hero”. By asking kids to input their own daily eating and exercise habits, the creators hope that kids will be able to compare their own habits to those of the game’s troll and see where they need to improve.

“This is an engaging social experience. Kids playing the game with their friends are more motivated to learn and succeed.” – Dr. Ben Reis, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston


HealthySocial’s apps are used by tens of thousands of people around the world. With a growing range of apps covering such diverse health topics as blood donation, flu vaccination and public health awareness, HealthySocial is dedicated to building a global social platform for health promotion and education.

“Social networks are emerging as an extremely powerful force for change. We want to leverage their tremendous potential to empower people worldwide to spread positive health behaviors and attitudes amongst their friends and loved ones.” – Dr. Ben Reis, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston