GOOD Magazine, USC Center for Body Computing
Concept Project: Empowering Behavior Change and Compliance
In Los Angeles County, one in five kids is obese. When GOOD Magazine paired Karten Design with Dr. Leslie Saxon and USC’s Center for Body Computing to address the problem of childhood obesity through design, we targeted motivation to create incentives for healthy behavior.
For teens and tweens, motivation is all about improving self-esteem. Weight is not just a matter of health, but a critical part of a young person’s self-image. DownWithDenim.org reaches kids with a fashion item central to self-image: denim jeans. The program connects health with appearance and uses visualization and fashion to motivate overweight children to take control of their bodies, and achieve a healthier self.
This comprehensive program has four central components: a mobile truck, a website, mobile apps, and community participation. The program begins with a mobile ‘DownWithDenim’ truck, where a staff of community dieticians and stylists help kids become inspired and make an initial commitment. Using augmented reality, kids view how they would look at their healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). DownWithDenim.org provides the knowledge, resources and personal support to help children achieve their healthy BMI. When signing up for the program, children receive a free pair of jeans in the next size down, and meet a personal nutritionist and trainer who will coach them on how to fit into that size via weekly virtual meetings. When that pair of jeans fits, the kids can consult with a dietician and make an appointment to select another pair of jeans in the next size down, until reaching a healthy BMI. Follow-up consultations and monitoring are essential to ensure healthy weight loss.