Today's children have grown up eating more processed, packaged, and nutrient-empty foods than any other generation to date, giving birth to a new kind of solution seeking. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine has teamed up with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create the Childhood Obesity Challenge, a three-part series online competition open to all individuals, groups, organizations and universities to propose ideas on how to address the childhood obesity epidemic.

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents (approximately 11 to 24 years old) in the past 30 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a building trend that begs for new solutions. The challenge's goal is to come up with a solution that will reduce and ultimately prevent childhood obesity from future generations.

Launched in July of 2012, the competition was designed as a series of challenges. Each one addressed different aspects of the obesity problem with the use of either video, projects, inventions, proposals, apps for mobile or tablet devices, and anything else that could relay a possible solution. The competition has created a crowdsourcing platform, for submissions that may not have been given the opportunity for recognition because their lack of research backing, funding to fully implement the idea, or ideas from outside academia.

The winner of the first challenge was FoodCorps, a team from AmeriCorps whose video submission encouraged children to participate in community gardens and educational tutorials during the farming process.

The winner of the second challenge was "Healthy Kids Out of School" put together by ChildObesity180, a team of experts from non-profit, public, private, and academic sectors whose exclusive goal is to address childhood obesity.

The third challenge's submission round was given deadline extension, and the voting process has begun. Each competition's submissions will be evaluated for innovativeness, benefit in the real world, and potential scale of impact by a judging panel of eight experts. The panel — which includes an insurance policy representative, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield rep, a doctor of the New York City Health Department, and even a professor of business at Harvard University — will sift through the online submissions. A first, second and third place winner will be decided between March 31st and May 15th 2013. First place with receive $5,000 dollars as well as a feature in the print and online addition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, while second place will receive $2,500 and third place $1,500.

To encourage participants to create solutions for childhood obesity that will rank well with the general public, participants also compete for the Popular Choice Award, which is given to the submission that receives the most votes on the Challenge's website. First prize for each challenge's popularity contest will win them a $1,000 prize and recognition on the American Journal of Preventive Medicine's publications.

This is just one of the many efforts the nation has taken to search for the panacea of the country's childhood obesity problem. A child who is obese has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's goal is to reverse the childhood obesity trend by 2015, calling childhood obesity "one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.

It is too early to predict what effect the "Childhood Obesity Challenge" will have in years to come, but without this unique challenge, creative and innovative solutions outside the standard scientific framework the greatest answer may have been left in the dark.