In May of 2014, University Health System partnered with the Witte Museum and H-E-B for the unveiling of an interactive exhibit designed to engage and empower children and their families to take charge of their health.
Four years later, the H-E-B Body Adventure Powered by University Health System is a great success, and providing data to drive community conversations and decisions to improve access to healthy foods and beverages, and safe places for children to play.
Children and their families learn more about how their bodies work through interactive activities that promote healthy eating and exercise. Participants create a personalized interactive experience by selecting a Body Adventure Buddy. Their “buddy” serves as a learning companion through each activity.
Key to this highly interactive experience is a networked system of components that lets participants capture and record their personal data and images as they explore a range of physical and mental attributes.
The “brain” that takes the health exhibit to this level of personalization and interaction is the PowerPass System which creates a permanent record of an experience that can be saved and compared on subsequent visits. De-identified data is collected in the background and used to analyze the impact of the program on improving the health of participants, and identify opportunities for community initiatives.
In the first three years, more than half a million visitors participated in the Body Adventure’s POWERpass activities, and the number of school children continues to increase dramatically.
For example, nearly 7,500 students participated in one of the four field-trip programs in the third year of the project. That’s an 83 percent increase over the previous year. And the number of kindergarten through second grade students taking part in the Food is Fuel nutrition program quadrupled in the second year, then doubled again in the third year.
The ability to aggregate and map more than 30,000 responses among school-aged youth with Bexar County ZIP Codes has led to powerful findings, and identified significant geographic disparities in important health practices such as vegetable and soda consumption.
As a result, new partnerships with the nonprofit SRG Force Sports and the San Antonio Independent School District led to a new health and wellness after-school program. And the finding that about 15 percent of one teen group says they live in ZIP Codes where they have no fun, safe places nearby, led the City of San Antonio Health Department to develop several “pocket parks” in those areas.
The H-E-B Body Adventure Powered by University Health System provides a compelling example of the power of a visionary partnership and sustained, meaningful and data-driven community collaboration.