More than 175 software developers, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs will take part in Lafayette’s first annual CajunCodeFest, a two-day coding competition designed to build innovative applications to fight childhood obesity.

The competition is set for Friday and Saturday and is being produced by the Center for Business and Information Technologies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, FiberCorps, Health 2.0, and leading healthcare innovators like Microsoft, Intel, TEDMED, AT&T, and Northrop Grumman.

“Competing teams will have just over 24 hours to analyze data, brainstorm ideas, and create digital prototypes,” said Ramesh Kolluru, director of the ULL center. “We believe that through the power of data innovation CajunCodeFest participants will be able to create new solutions for helping fight rising childhood obesity rates.”

At stake is a $25,000 cash prize and automatic entry into the third annual US Health Datapalooza in Washington, DC in June. One in three children between ages 2 and 19 is overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Direct medical costs for treating overweight and obese children are estimated at $3 billion per year

The participants include residents of 29 cities, nine states, and Germany.