Cholesterol Ease wins Rep. Thomas Suozzi’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New York’s Third District

Rep. Thomas Suozzi has named Annie Qiu, a 10th Grader at Syosset High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New York’s Third District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Cholesterol Ease, the student said, ”I was inspired to create this app because I wanted to make a resource published in research papers and used by my uncle to change his high cholesterol to an optimal level more accessible to the public. This summer, I read multiple articles and papers from health organizations regarding the Portfolio Diet and started analyzing the categories and components of this cholesterol-reducing method. As a high school student, I use apps everyday for multiple uses. Several studies have also shown that health apps promote behavior change and healthy outcomes, with more improvement compared to primary care alone. This was especially prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic, where evidence-based healthcare apps were in high demand. On the App Store, I tried to search for cholesterol control apps but the apps were cholesterol calculators, cholesterol number tables, or low cholesterol recipes, with some apps even charging fees for only cholesterol data. I wanted to develop a free and user-friendly app to help people decrease cholesterol from diet. I hope that this app could be a good tool at health clinics to help patients. I am interested in ways to spread the strategy of using diet to help improve health conditions to a more personalized approach where the user can choose their preferred meal based on categories provided and become aware about additional benefits so that the app can be a resource that people use daily when deciding what they make for breakfast or eat for an afternoon snack. I think it is also important for everyone to know about the effectiveness of the portfolio diet and incorporate it into their daily lives because it can potentially be life-changing, considering that high cholesterol leads to higher risks of heart disease and stroke. I also know that many people frequently eat at fast food restaurants, so I included the risks of high cholesterol from these popular foods. Even though people may know that cholesterol may be dangerous for them, they don’t know the extent to which they themselves can take steps to lowering their cholesterol right from their own home through opening an app.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.