Connect with Health in your Hood
Where can you grab a healthy meal a few blocks from your house? attend a class without hopping in a car? find a workout buddy? and where is there a Farmers' Market you can bike to?
Good health is closer than you think and an app is helping residents of Santa Ana, Anaheim and Garden Grove find good health near them.
The Alliance for a Healthy OC and Downtown Inc. are releasing a web app as part of Hack for Health, a series of community engagements around health and technology.
What does the app do?
Yealthy helps you find healthy food and activities around you by pulling results from open data provided by Yelp.com. "The app is like a healthy version of Yelp for North OC," said Ryan Smolar who built Yealthy and helped administer the Hack for Health program as Hacker-in-Chief.
To use Yealthy, you enter your address and the type of healthy activity you're interested in and whether you plan to walk, bike or drive/take transit. "We included a broad list of activities as healthy," said Smolar, "because the community said health is more than just a physical activity."
When you open Yealthy, it defaults to 1st Street and Main Street in Santa Ana, California. From there, you can quickly find gyms, yoga classes, libraries and community centers, healthy restaurants, a farmers market and more. Enter your own address and see all the healthy activities you can walk, bike or drive and take transit to with ease.
If something you think should be on the list, please let us know. If something should not be included, please let us know. To get listed in Yealthy, a healthy place has to be on Yelp, have above 3.5 star rating and be categorized correctly.
Why build an app to help people find healthy food and activities?
The Hack for Health was part of a multi-million dollar Center for Disease Control OC PICH grant that brings together health agencies and community partners to improve health in North OC. The idea of creating a hack-a-thon and app as part of this program was initiated by the Alliance for a Healthy OC and executed by Downtown Inc.
The idea for an app that connects locals with healthy activities and food stemmed from a focus group of OC PICH grant partners. The idea was later confirmed as relevant at a community Pitchfest where we built a model of Santa Ana (using donated supplies from the Child Creativity Lab) and observed the barriers to health in our neighborhoods.
"It's amazing to ask people to build a model of something," said Smolar, "and to see what they know and what they don't know." Community members quickly identified their school, their local park and a landmark or two, but weren't as connected to gyms, health and sports stores, youth services, doctors and medical information, religious organizations or healthy restaurants and markets.
Now that the app is available, we need to get the word out. Help us spread tell people about the app and to start learning about the good health activities in their neighborhood. We are interested in your feedback on how to improve the app and have planned improvements including automatic location detection. If you are interested in future civic hacking projects, please contact us.
Thanks the numerous partners who contributed to this project and worked hard to make it a success:
Santa Ana Public Library TeenSpace
Marklem Valdoinos, Regional Director, Multicultural Initiatives, American Heart Association
Kurt Arnlund, Director of Mobile Development at Thync
Bill Fennessy, Director of Community Engagement and Work-Based Learning, Think Together
Ryan Smolar, Hacker-in-Chief, Hack for Health
Participants & Collaborators
Alliance for a Healthy OC
City of Santa Ana
Dino Perez, Art Advisor
Kurt Arlund, Tech Advisor
Nelson Alonso, Library Liasion & Videographer
Child Creativity Lab
Alta Baja Market
OC Burrito Project
Pitchfest, Moises Vazquez, "Youth Services App"
Hack-a-thon, three-way tie, see results here.
Story by Ryan Smolar