MENTAL HEALTH

App helps autistic teens stay healthy

'Healthier Me' encourages autistic teenagers to have a balanced diet and take care of their bodies

 

Teenagers with autism face unique day-to-day challenges that many others may take for granted. For these teens, and others with developmental disabilities, staying healthy and active may depend on help from a caregiver which may not always be available.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity is 50 percent more common in teens between the ages of 12 and 17 who have developmental disabilities like autism than it is for others. To help combat this issue, The Kohl’s Autism Awareness Program at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey developed an app called Healthier Me.

The app is designed to help autistic teens stay healthy and achieve more independence by offering a checklist of activities which serve as a daily reminder to eat their daily dose of fruits and vegetables and drink enough water. It also reminds them to care for their bodies and practice good hygiene through showering, handwashing and dental care.

The app follows a merit-based reward system, allowing users to earn trips and outings when they achieve a health goal.

Healthier Me is free and is available for download in iTunes.