Press Release: CMU School of Design, Eat'n Park Restaurants Launch Innovative Partnership To Fight Childhood Obesity-Carnegie Mellon News - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, July 25, 2011

Press Release: CMU School of Design, Eat'n Park Restaurants Launch Innovative Partnership To Fight Childhood Obesity

Program To Share Fitwits™ Nutrition Education Tool With Children and Families Through Eat'n Park

Contact: Shilo Raube / Carnegie Mellon University / 412-268-6094 / sraube@andrew.cmu.edu
Trina DeMarco / Eat'n Park Hospitality Group / 412-461-2000 x1264 / tdemarco@eatnpark.com

FitwitsPITTSBURGH—With obesity rates on the rise, the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design's Fitwits™ project (www.fitwits.org) and Pittsburgh-based Eat'n Park Restaurants (www.eatnpark.com) are joining forces to help fight the epidemic.

Fitwits is a fun, hands-on program designed to inform kids and families about healthy eating and active living. The game encourages families to interact with each other, ask questions and discuss health in a fun and engaging way. For five weeks, starting on Aug. 1, 2011, Eat'n Park Restaurants will introduce the Fitwits program to guests by offering a series of five Fitwits collectible character cards to families. Each card contains nutritional information, recipes, trivia and memory triggers to teach children about appropriate portion sizes.

During those five weeks, or while supplies last, families at Eat'n Park can request a free Fitwits Memory Game and Recipe Cards. In addition, families can participate in Fitwits' first-ever text-messaging game called "Road Trip with Elvis," which allows families to advise Fitwits character Elvis Pretzley how to make healthy choices during his busy travel schedule.

"For the past four years, our team has worked to improve health communication and education for kids," said Kristin Hughes, associate professor of design at Carnegie Mellon who leads Fitwits. "Increased health literacy and an understanding of nutrition provide the basic foundation needed to learn new skills that will help individuals identify and change bad habits, making them proactive participants in their own families' health. By changing the way people think about nutrition, we can change our communities for the better."

The Fitwits partnership is the most recent element in Eat'n Park's LifeSmilesTM initiative, a five-year, $1 million commitment to children's health and wellness. This comprehensive, community-wide wellness program is framed around the four pillars of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign.

"Eat'n Park is committed to giving families the resources and knowledge they need to make healthier choices. Because of that, we think it's very important to support and amplify successful health initiatives like Fitwits," said Brooks Broadhurst, Eat'n Park's senior vice president, Food and Beverage.  "An important element of LifeSmiles is empowering our guests with choices and Fitwits provides a great, easy-to-understand dialogue about healthy choices. We're proud of this partnership."

Fitwits is a collaborative project between CMU's School of Design and UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Centers. The Fitwits and Eat'n Park partnership to fight childhood obesity was made possible by a $125,000 grant from The Heinz Endowments. Additionally, Open Science Initiative developed the text message game, and Tropo donated all text-messaging services.
     
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About FitwitsTM: FitwitsTM is designed to encourage hands-on learning, allowing families the opportunity to interact with each other, ask questions, share information, invent new ideas and play. Fitwits is a collaborative project with Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design and UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Centers. It is funded by The Heinz Endowments. Learn more at www.fitwits.org.

About Eat'n Park Hospitality Group: Eat'n Park Hospitality Group is a portfolio of foodservice concepts focused on personalized dining. The restaurant division includes Eat'n Park Restaurants and Six Penn Kitchen, a neighborhood American bistro. Its contract foodservice division includes: Parkhurst Dining Services, a provider of contract dining services to businesses, higher education institutions and cultural centers; and CURA Hospitality, which enhances life around great food through contract dining and management services for regional hospitals and senior living facilities. Since 1949, Pittsburgh-based Eat'n Park Restaurants has been a family-owned restaurant chain, serving guests across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. At the heart of Eat'n Park are more than 8,000 team members committed to providing friendly, attentive service and supporting a growing number of community initiatives, including an annual fundraising campaign that has generated more than $7 million for children's hospitals. Eat'n Park also donates more than 200,000 Smiley Cookies — the brand's iconic symbol — every year to support community events and fundraisers. 

About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 11,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon's main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh. It has campuses in California's Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university is in the midst of a $1 billion fundraising campaign, titled "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements.

About Tropo: Tropo is Voxeo's premier cloud communications platform, enabling software developers to quickly build and deploy powerful voice and text messaging applications. Since 1999, Voxeo has continuously unlocked communications in all its forms — voice, SMS, instant messaging, Twitter and more — for more than 200,000 developers, 45,000 companies and half of the Fortune 100. Headquartered in Orlando with offices in San Francisco, Beijing, Cologne and London, the company has torn down barriers to entry using open standards, disruptive innovation and a passion for problem solving that's fueled by a company-wide obsession with customer success.  To learn more visit http://tropo.com

About Open Science Initiative: Open Science Initiative is looking at scientific innovation in a new way.  Open Science Initiative is a nonprofit with the goal of helping researchers to be as productive as possible and tackle the most challenging problems in science. This is done through new forms of research funding that reward scientists for innovation as well as through its Web application, enabling scientists to collaborate and freely share their knowledge with others in the community. Through these efforts, Open Science Initiative aims to accelerate the pace of medical and scientific advances in the research community. To learn more, visit http://www.opsci.org

Pictured above are some of the Fitwits collectible character cards that Eat'n Park Restaurants will offer to guests.