APPROACH: Smart India engages youth in India via their smartphones to address critical data gaps in the second-most populous country in the world. This initiative is part of Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance, which is an international endeavour to synthesize, evaluate, and exchange active living evidence to inform policy and program interventions in more than 50 countries. Physical inactivity among Indian children and youth has consequences for the global economy, as youth in India will make up a significant proportion of the world’s workforce. The initiative is a strategic pilot that is allowing our team to test processes, identify barriers, and develop social innovation solutions to link big data across international jurisdictions via ethical engagement with youth. Smart India is informing an international digital citizen science to address child and youth health challenges across 10 middle- and low-income countries.

CONTEXT: Smart India initiative began on a small-scale in three cities: Mysuru, Chennai, and Delhi. Currently, youth across India are being engaged in 28 cities and towns to expand the representativeness of the sample.

COHORT: The initial phase of this initiative focuses exclusively on children and youth, and the data obtained will address critical evidence gaps that were identified by the 2016 and 2018 India Report Cards on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. 

PROCESS: Smart India is our global social innovation project that engages youth in India to address key gaps in active living evidence to inform active living policy and practice. Smart India contributes to the global report cards on the physical activity of children and youth, and thus far, two India report cards (2016 and 2018) have been produced as part of this project. It is being implemented by Active Healthy Kids India, a not-for-profit organization that Drs. Bhawra and Katapally co-founded to raise funds, bring together stakeholders, and implement social innovation initiatives that engage youth citizen scientists as partners.