UW Invites Wyoming Teens and Parents to Test New Healthy Eating App

Researchers at the University of Wyoming are recruiting Albany County parents and teens interested in testing a new mobile app promoting healthy eating.

The app’s purpose is to encourage teenage girls to improve their nutritional habits, says Grace Shearrer, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences in the UW College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources.

smiling teenager wearing orange beanie, round glasses with orange lenses, and a purple T-shirt. She is holding a red mobile phone and has a pair of large headphones draped around her neck.
The new mobile app, which features interactive games and a nutrition journal, is designed to help Wyoming teens improve their eating habits. Photo by Masson, stock.adobe.com.

Funded by the American Diabetes Association, the project is part of a three-year study assessing whether type 2 diabetes is a problem for Wyoming teens. While research in other areas of the U.S. suggests that teenage girls in rural areas have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to teens in urban areas, large-scale studies have not yet been conducted in Wyoming.

“One of the things that we don’t know almost anything about in Wyoming is the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes in youth,” says Shearrer, lead researcher and designer of the app. “So, given that we know that rural communities are impacted more, it could be a silent epidemic that we’re not aware of.”

In creating the app, Shearrer seeks to learn more about teens’ diets and cravings while providing engaging content that encourages healthier eating habits. She is currently soliciting feedback from teenage girls ages 13-17 and their parents.

Feedback sessions will take place at the UW College of Ag building in Laramie. Mobile phones are provided. Participants should expect to spend 60-90 minutes exploring a prototype of the app and giving feedback.

Parents and teens each receive $25 Amazon gift cards for participating in a feedback session.

To learn more about the study or register for a feedback session, visit https://bit.ly/mROCT-app-2023. Parents and teenagers interested in testing the app are asked to sign up by Oct. 15.

Starting in November, a final version of the app will undergo a one-year trial with teens in Albany and Fremont Counties. Participants will receive $100 and a free type 2 diabetes screening.

Contact Shearrer at gshearre@uwyo.edu or (307) 766-4145 with questions or to sign up for a feedback session.

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