The winners of the Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge, first launched at the mHealth Summit in December, were announced last week. The four winning apps were selected from three categories:

  1. Healthy Eating/Nutrition
  2. Physical Fitness/Activity
  3. Integrative Health/Well-being

These four apps represent a range of imaginative solutions to encourage people make better food choices, exercise more and adopt healthier lifestyles. They also show that the federal government sees mobile technologies as a viable means of improving public health.


In the Healthy Eating category joint winners were selected as equally outstanding submissions. The first is GoodGuide (@goodguide), which is available for iOS and Android, an app that makes it easy to get the information you need about your food, personal care, and household products to help you make health (and green and ethical) choices. A simple barcode scanner is used to get this information while you shop and select products based on your preferences.

The other winning app in this category is Fooducate (@fooducate), also available for both iOS and Android, which also uses a barcode scanner function to allow you to scan the products you buy to quickly get information on that food’s health value, represented by a letter grade from A to D, plus additional information such as nutrients and additives. The app also provides healthier alternatives and can compare two products side-by-side.

In the Physical Fitness category the winning app is Lose It (@loseitapp), available natively on iOS as well as on the web, which helps users achieve their diet and exercise goals by allowing them to set a daily calorie budget and then prompts them throughout the course of the day to record their food intake and exercise to meet that budget. The app also enables users to share their daily logs on Facebook to boost motivation and add an element of social encouragement.

In the Integrative Health category the winner is Healthy Habits (@2morrowmobile), available on iOS, which encourages people to develop healthy habits, make positive changes in their lives, and stick to them. Healthy Habits recognizes that good health is not just about keeping active and eating healthy, but also about getting a good night’s sleep, thinking positively, and spending time with family and friends. It also addresses health issues such as smoking, wearing sunscreen, taking time for creative activities, and reducing stress. Users can choose health habits they want to track.

A range of experts were involved in selecting the winning apps:

  • Michelle Kwan – Champion figure-skater and a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
  • Cornell McClellan – Fitness consultant and a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.
  • Wayne Jonas, M.D. – President and CEO of the Samueli Institute.
  • Farzad Mostashari, M.D. – National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Todd Park – Chief Technology Officer and entrepreneur-in-residence, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Shellie Pfohl – Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

Four non-winning apps were given special recognition for their outstanding solutions. Fit Friendzy (iOS) encourages everyone to be more active by highlighting the benefits of not just traditional exercise but also of tasks like gardening, dancing, housecleaning, and snow shoveling. You can challenge yourself or join in challenges with your friends. MapMyFitness (iOS, Android and Blackberry) encompasses both fitness and nutrition education, using the built-in GPS in user’s mobile devices to track fitness activities. Max’s Plate (iOS) educates young children and their parents about healthy eating using fun and entertaining tools. Short Sequence: Kids’ Yoga Journey (iOS, Android and Nook) provides simple instructions for yoga poses for children complete with illustrations.