Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that the public voting period for the Apps for Healthy Kids competition has begun and will conclude on August 14 at noon EDT. During this time, members of the public are invited to test and vote on their favorite game and tool submissions on

apps-for-healthy-kids.jpgThe Apps for Healthy Kids competition is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, and is designed to inspire software developers, game designers, and students to create engaging apps that will motivate playing-with-app-featured.jpgchildren–particularly “tweens” (ages 9-12)–to choose healthier food options and become more physically active.

“USDA is committed to doing our part to end childhood obesity in this generation and the Apps for Healthy Kids competition is a great way to harness the combined creativity of game developers, local youth, and adults to work collaboratively to produce fun, innovative games and playing-with-iphone-featured.jpgtools that promote healthy lifestyles,” said Vilsack.

The public’s top picks will determine the two winners of $4,500 Popular Choice Awards, and by fall 2010, a total of $60,000 in prize money will be awarded to 12 winners in various categories

The competition began in March, with 95 submissions thus far accepted from students, developers, designers, and organizations.  In addition to the Popular Choice Award, other winners will be selected by a panel of judges that include top industry experts, such as Apple Computer Co-Founder Steve Wozniak and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus. The judges will determine the winner based on five main criteria, including potential to impact the target audience, potential to engage and motivate target audience, and creativity and originality.

The winners who be honored at a White House event in Washington, D.C.

“We are excited to showcase the talent of our nation’s innovators while encouraging nutritious food choices and physical activity,” Vilsack added.

Images:  Screenshots from Let’s Move! Apps for Healthy Kids Website and video.