What’s that fish swimming in your child’s tummy?
Think Tamagotchi with a twist, a modern-day app that provides your child with a virtual pet. The app builds on the “TummyFish” storybook that tells the tale of a fish that finds a safe haven inside a child’s tummy. But rather than feeding this pet with candy, ‘Tummyfish’ likes to drink water. Designed to teach kids the importance of drinking water regularly for good hydration, the digital fish that appears to swim in a child’s belly, is happier and more active when it is given water to drink, but sad and slow when fed sugar-sweetened drinks instead.
A hydrated fish is a happy fish, keen to play a range of fun educational games with you and your child. The app will even give you daily reminders to check how much water your kid is drinking.
A 2018 survey by Nestlé Waters and Ipsos found that, although 82% of parents in seven countries across the world make sure their child drinks enough water, 65% of kids said they preferred sugary drinks.
Access to sugary drinks
While this is not surprising, the real problem is that kids may have more access to sugary drinks than parents are aware of. In part, this is due to a permissive school culture in some countries, but also ‘special occasions’ (hot days, meals out, even just weekends), that are more frequent than parents think.
As part of our wider Nestlé for Healthier Kids initiative, which aims to help 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030, Nestlé Middle East created Tummyfish to inspire behaviour change in a fun, creative way.
First launched in the United Arab Emirates in 2016 and amplified in partnership with the Dubai Healthy Authority, Tummyfish has since spread to other countries in the region, coming to Jordan earlier this year in collaboration with the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS), and Director general Hanin Odeh is enthusiastic about the launch.
“We are happy to be able to bring this unique interactive tool to children,” says Hanin. “We expect it will encourage them to stay hydrated, and will reflect positively on their overall health.”
‘Amazing game for kids’
How is Tummyfish faring so far? Well, the app has over 235,000 downloads, and its ratings on the Google Play store alone give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Comments include: “It is good for kids (to) drink water”, “Tummyfish helps us drink… water in our daily lives, which is good for us.” And, “This game is amazing for kids.”
The app has also won several digital media awards, including the Grand Prix for branded content and entertainment by Dubai Lynx, gold titles at the Effies MENA awards, and merits from The One Show. In addition, it won the Golden Award in the Global Lovie Award for Apps & voted favorite App by Health Experts in the UAE.
We endeavoured to inspire behaviour change through the power of scientific evidence, creativity and, of course, a lot of fun! We wanted the app to be a practical, interactive tool for parents that would help them inspire their kids to drink enough water. It’s gratifying to see that it is serving its purpose, and this will inspire us to keep innovating to promote healthy hydration habits.Patricia El Chammas Haddad, Kids Programmes Manager at Nestlé Middle East