The project focuses on developing a design that prevents bad food habits for teenagers in the age 14 -16 years old, which is a demographic shown to seek out unhealthy food environments to be entertained.
Our hope is that Pausen contributes to a healthy society and lowers the Danish healthcare cost used to treat obesity and other related diseases, and eventually contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal no. 3: “Ensure healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages” (IAEG-SDGs (2016)).
Bad food habits cause serious problems in our society. For example, treating people with obesity costs 1,8 billion DKK every year. If we want a healthy society, teenagers are a good place to start. They are easiest group of people to influence, and the habits we learn at this stage of our lives usually stick with us.
Our partner Gehl Architects conducted a study that showed that teenagers often hang out at fast food restaurants or supermarkets during recess. Surprisingly, they do not choose these places because of the food, but because they are casual places to hang out.
This project utilized a design process as part of the course Holistic Design of Engineering Systems at the Technical University of Denmark in collaboration with Gehl Architects and DTU Skylab FoodLab.
The solution to the problem is a truck, Pausen, providing a hang-out spot and activities, that can occupy the students during recess, instead of hangout places that are unhealthy food environments. The truck pulls up in front of schools and a cozy hang-out spot unfolds. Every day the truck staff organizes activities that the teenagers can gather around during recess or after school. We stay connected to the teenagers through the Pausen Community, an app where the teenagers can follow the activities in the truck and continue interacting with their friends online when the truck is not there. In order for Pausen to become a success it must be the easiest choice for the teenagers. Therefore, it is important to choose the right position for the truck and fill it with content that fulfills the teenager’s needs.
Together with anthropologist, Sophia, from Gehl, we evaluated that the best way to reach to teenagers was to bring the entertainment to them. This is where the idea of a truck arose. To engage teenagers, we create the atmosphere of the truck together with a group of 8th graders. They helped us detail the concept and fill the program with activities that makes Pausen attractive to them. This way Pausen assist to change the food habits of teenagers and improve their overall health while being a cool hang-out place created by the teeangers for the teenagers where they can come and join the fun.