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April 27, 2017
Contact: HHS Press Office
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US and Canada announce independent competitions to improve wellness data collection

Competitions to spur innovative ideas to collect precise wellness data from people’s daily activities and help public health experts make more informed health policy recommendations was launched today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Public Health Agency of Canada. With a prize pot at $100,000 for the U.S. competition, the Healthy Behavior Data Challenges competition will focus on the use of new technologies such as wearable devices and mobile applications to collect data related to nutrition, sleep, physical activity, and sedentary behavior.

The competitions will include parallel data challenges that will run separately in both the U.S. and Canada. Residents and survey-data experts in both countries, as well as innovators in health and technology from both the public and private sectors, may enter each competition.

When it comes to our health, understanding the factors that influence our choices and behaviors are key to creating responsive programs and policies that improve health and well-being. Public health experts have traditionally relied on self-reported data from online questionnaires, in-person interviews, and telephone surveys to gain insight into a population’s health. However, real-time data sources are emerging with greater potential to provide a more accurate and complete picture of human health.

“Thanks to our partnership with Canada, we are able to multiply our research and data that results from this challenge,” said Dr. Don Wright, MD, MPH, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS. “Receiving accurate data is crucial for informing decision-making policies for both public health agencies. Any and all citizens in both countries can be a part of a monumental change in how we receive information and insight into the population’s health and well-being.”

“This challenge is about encouraging innovative solutions that improve quality of life,” said the Honourable Jane Philpott, Canadian Minister of Health. “Thanks to the collaboration between our partners at home and in the United States, we have a unique opportunity to transform traditional public health surveillance and to find the evidence we need to shape action in public health.”

Public health surveillance is crucial in supporting researchers, policy makers and public health professionals as they advise patients, tailor prevention programs to specific populations, encourage positive behavior change, and identify emerging areas that require public health attention.

Learn more about the U.S. Healthy Behaviors Data Challenge at https://www.challenge.gov/challenge/the-healthy-behavior-data-challenge/.

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: April 27, 2017

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