Immersive Environments for Nutrition Education

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2011-00181
Agency Tracking Number: 2011-00181
Amount: $99,911.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.5
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
901 NE LOOP 410 STE 600, San Antonio, TX, 78209-1306
DUNS: 032869526
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kurt Steuck
 Director, Learning Technologies
 (210) 826-9300
Business Contact
 Connie Hernandez
Title: Contract Manager
Phone: (210) 826-9300
Research Institution
Diligent is responding to the USDA FY2011 Research Priority: "Developing and using interactive, information technology for nutrition educators and teachers to increase nutrition awareness and improve health and intervention strategies to address obesity among children." Diligent Consulting, Inc., a Service Disable Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), addresses this strategic goal of improving the Nation's health and nutrition by designing and developing an engaging, interactive, adaptive, effective instructional system. The initial immersive environment is a point solution aiming to improve adolescents' and young adults' health-related decision-making and physical activities. Diligent proposes a simple model (or framework) that follows the general dichotomy between food/nutrition instruction and physical activity. The model, however, addresses both cognitive components (i.e., knowledge, skills) and behavioral components (i.e., healthy decisions, physical activity) of each. For example, Diligent proposes using a virtual world to encourage learners to make informed decisions in scenario-based games, such as making a series of selections at a fast food restaurant (forced-choice decisions), shopping in a virtual grocery store (open-ended decisions), and scavenger (search and find) games. Diligent is targeting the middle/junior high school population based on the discussions with the nutritionists, physical trainers, and school district officials. Many of the nutrition education initiatives surveyed target the same audience age range (e.g., 10-14 year olds). The initial solution will be fielded in San Antonio and the South Texas region, an area with a high Hispanic population and an obesity problem. Upon refinement, the integrated nutrition education and physical activity learning environment could be distributed to traditionally underrepresented populations who have limited access to engaging, effective nutrition education.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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