News / Ottawa

Teen entrepreneurs innovate new ways to fight obesity

Teens from across Canada have come up with new ways to help fight obesity while learning about themselves and how to work together at a month-long camp called Shad Valley summer camp.

"Obesity is not about being a large person," said Toronto's Denis Peda, a grade 12 student who worked with 10 others to imagine Ventus, a wristband fitted with a gyroscope that would track its wearer's movements. "As long as you're an active, healthy person, you don't have to adhere to a thin stereotype."

Peda and her team came up with the idea at the camp held at Carleton University. The program brings together 56 high achieving students to unleash their entrepreneurial and innovative power.

Since 4.5 million Canadians are classified as being obese, this year's theme focused on coming up with products that could help fight those numbers.

Ventus, Peda said, would work by collecting data on its user's activities and then upload them to a social network where they could compete against their friends.

"The more exercise you do the more points you get in the community," she said. "It's been a great experience learning what it's like to work as an entrepreneur."

Although most of the students plan to go on in science and engineering, the projects brought out their individual qualities, said Vancouver's Alok Vakil, whose team thought up the Tumble Cooker, a rotating frying pan that could mix and cook stir fries in a pinch.

"I learned how to work together as a team with other high achievers," he said. "I realized how much time you have in a day and improved my time management skills. It prepared me for University in Alberta this fall."

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