BodiMojo makes health cool for teens

I’m so pleased to be able to write another story about an online tool taking positive action about body image.

BodiMojo is an online health and wellness community for teenagers, covering many common issues faced by girls and boys aged 13-17 years old. It contains a wealth of information and interactive tools directed at teenagers, their parents and the community.

The site began with an aim of reducing teenage obesity, but has grown into a more holistic approach, encompassing many issues that contribute to health and wellbeing.

Its point of difference is that it engages with teens on their level – featuring quizzes, blogs, games, music, videos and much more – making health cool.

The focus is on personalized health information tailored to the individual, rather than teaching a 12-year-old and a 17-year-old the same snippet of health information, which may not be relevant to them right now.

Founder and CEO of BodiMojo Tara Cousineau says “Health literacy and media literacy is top of mind for us.”

Informational articles are prominently featured on the site, but the content is also conveyed by means of graphics, video and games. The site was created with input from both health professionals and teens themselves, and the content on the site is contributed by a wide variety of people from different groups.

It’s also linked in to social networking, so teens can share their experiences on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Buzz. They also have an iPhone app, allowing teens to stay connected to the community wherever they are.

During the development phase, numerous studies on the efficacy of the website were conducted. Cousineau says: “For girls in particular, exposure to the BodiMojo over 4 weeks significantly improved their attitudes about their own body image relative to those who did not get the program.”

This is a heartening statistic, and just goes to show that there are many approaches to health education that could be effective in boosting self-esteem and body image.

Call me cynical, but it’s worth noting that BodiMojo is a business, not a nonprofit organization. Currently, they are funded by a National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovative Research grant, but it will be interesting to see how they can remain uncompromised by the agendas of advertisers in the future.

I searched their site to find some reference to how this was going to be a profitable business, and in their media kit found a reference to BodiMojo offering “customized services and programs for health and benefits organizations to offer targeted programming.”

This certainly rings a faint alarm bell with me, but time will tell whether this is a dealbreaker for keeping advertisers away from the vulnerable target of teens who use of the site.

Overall, though, I think BodiMojo is great, and I wish something that had had been available when I was a teenager! It can be a confusing world for teens in the first place, made worse by conflicting messages about health and wellness.

With BodiMojo, teens are put in charge of their own health education and actions on their level. It’s a very encouraging beginning towards proving their philosophy: “Health Can Be Cool.”


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