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Technology teaches kids healthy habits

Games encourage good nutrition, exercise and other positive routines
Updated 9:09 am, Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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By Sarah Rufca

In addition to giving parents information on how to keep their kids safe and healthy, apps these days are designed for little ones to learn about exercise, healthful eating and more, even though they might think it's just a game. Below are examples of some programs that teach good nutrition, dental hygiene and other healthy habits. Now, if only an app could be invented to get them to make their beds.

4KIDS

HEALTH

Parenting books are great, but they're pretty annoying to carry around all the time. Luckily, 4Kids Health, created by the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis, has quick advice for issues ranging from toilet training to first aid. Parents can search a symptom checker, read up on the latest news on healthful eating and measure proper medicine dosage. Free at iTunes App Store or Google Play.

IS IT

CONTAGIOUS?

As kids head back to school, they can be at risk of sharing more than knowledge. Parents can check symptoms in this app using realistic illustrations. Maladies are rated by how communicable they are, so parents can decide whether to keep a contagious kid out of class, as well as determine whether it's safe to keep a playdate with a friend recovering from an infection. Free at iTunes App Store and Google Play.

SMASH

YOUR FOOD

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture challenged programmers to create tools to help kids learn to eat healthfully and exercise, nearly 100 responded. One standout is Smash Your Food. Smash Your Food asks players to guess the amount of sugar, salt and oil in popular foods. After guesses are in, watch a video of that food being smashed, a sight that's both gross and engrossing. Free at iTunes App Store.

STAR

TEETH

If getting kids to brush their teeth is the most arduous two minutes of your day, check out Star Teeth. The app includes a handful of characters, from a dog to a skeleton, who kids can choose to brush their teeth along with for exactly 120 seconds. Free at iTunes App Store.

VACCINATION

SCHEDULER

Between playdates, school deadlines, work and getting dinner on the table, it's easy to lose track of something like vaccination schedules. This app does all the remembering for you, creating a comprehensive and customizable schedule of all vaccinations through age 7, as recommended by the World Health Organization. It's 99 cents at iTunes App Store.