Archive for April, 2014

Map-with_tags_JF_121513HealthStart has teamed up with Austin Community College to take learning beyond the classroom. We posed the following question:

“How do you translate a classroom curriculum into an engaging game for children that encourages behavioral change and whose success can be measured?”

To answer this question, Michael McGar, ACC Professor,  and a team of 12 students developed Monstralia, an interactive game for 3-6 years olds and their parents that can be used on a variety of platforms including smart phones, computers, or gaming systems.

Monstralia is an imaginary island where children raise a baby monster in various environments that represent body systems. Children will gain an understanding of nutrition, physical activity and other biological functions while scoring points and being rewarded for off-screen activities such as jumping, running, and making healthy food choices. The mobile system can use motion to monitor physical activity and measure the progress.

The design is based on proven behavioral change models, and the efficacy of the program can be measured through anonymous reports and electronic data-gathering.

Other key highlights include the low cost of distribution and management, and the ease of integration for teachers and facilitators.

HealthStart believes that children are positive change agents for healthy behaviors, and we are excited about the possibilities that Monstralia can bring to our mission of creating healthy communities through early childhood health education.


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Our number one goal at Healthstart is to promote and teach healthy lifestyles. We take into to account our bodies needs, from from brain to bones. This week, we are focusing on one of the most important parts of the body: the heart. The heart supplies our body with blood to keep us moving and nourished.  Having a healthy heart means being able to stay active throughout life without fear of a heart attack. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, but 90% of these deaths could be avoided if we all adopted healthy lifestyles.


Keeping a healthy heart nourished is simpler than it may seem. Many foods strengthen the heart and can reduce risk of heart disease. Foods high in omega-3 acids, like salmon, and olive oil can protect your heart and lower cholesterol. Fruits and veggies such as broccoli, kale, and berries contain anti-inflammatory agents to sooth heart burn. If you are looking for a refreshing treat on these hot days, try out this heart healthy smoothie recipe!



  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 peeled banana
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seed
  • 1 cup of ice


You might be craving something savory after a sweet smoothie, but try to avoid eating fried food and high-sodium food. They can seriously clog your arteries and make you more susceptible to heart attacks. Another food group to keep a watch on are the “healthy” labeled items at restaurants; often than not these entrees contain enormous amounts of fat and salt. You can never do wrong by cooking at home!

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