Fitwits, a new startup company out of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, is helping families fight childhood obesity and develop lifelong healthy eating habits. Five years in the making and backed by nearly $1 million of investments thus far, Fitwits is part of the CMU's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation.

The company offers a system of print and digital tools that provides families, educators and health care professionals greater insight into health decisions that children make on a daily basis. Through child's play, Fitwits engages children in meaningful health improvement practices combining design thinking, healthy eating principles and technology to help reverse the upward trend of children between the ages of 6 and 11 who are overweight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of obese Americans in that age group increased from 7 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 2012. Hispanic boys and African-American girls are at greater risk. Children in lower socioeconomic households are especially challenged, but Fitwits creator Kristin Hughes, associate professor in Carnegie Mellon's School of Design, said the program applies to all families.

"Behavior modification is something that, when learned early, can last a lifetime," she said. "Through Fitwits, we're helping families try healthy behaviors through gaming, with the end result being a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle." These endeavors highlight Hughes' personal mission: to demonstrate how design can be leveraged for social change.

For the full press release, click here.