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June 22 , 2010

Facebook game helps those with diabetes

HealthSeeker helps you make better choices

A new game called HealthSeeker launched last week on Facebook, with the goal of helping players make specific lifestyle changes that focus on healthy eating. While the benefits of the game are available to anyone, HealthSeeker specifically helps people with diabetes make more informed lifestyle decisions in an innovative way that complements their daily use of social media.

HealthSeeker is an innovative, unique, online experience that combines a supportive social networking environment with important information on managing diabetes. The game utilizes the player's own Facebook friends as sources of inspiration and support on the road to better health. There are MISSIONS and ACTION STEPS to help players achieve LIFESTYLE GOALS and create an opportunity to advance in the game. These LIFESTYLE GOALS include eating more healthfully, achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, improving one’s diabetes control and lowering cardiovascular risk factors. As ACTION STEPS are completed and players return to report their progress, they receive experience points and other awards for their achievements.

HealthSeeker is a unique collaboration between diabetes experts and patient advocates who are on the front lines of diabetes care. It was developed by the Diabetes Hands Foundation in collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center, with financial support provided by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

"With HealthSeeker, we wanted to harness the Facebook phenomenon to help people with diabetes make necessary changes in their daily lives," said Manny Hernandez, president of Diabetes Hands Foundation, who has been living with diabetes since 2002. "I cannot overstate what a source of support, information and inspiration social networking tools like this can be for someone living with a chronic condition like diabetes."

Many people with diabetes struggle with the lifestyle changes that are needed to help manage their condition, such as adding more fiber, fruit and vegetables to their diets, or increasing their daily activity. HealthSeeker can help people with diabetes stay motivated by suggesting simple, everyday steps to help them achieve their lifestyle goals and then rewarding them for their success.

"As a clinician who has been treating people with diabetes for over 30 years, I can tell you that food is often the most frustrating area of concern for people with the condition," said Dr. Richard Jackson, an endocrinologist and Director of Medical Affairs, Healthcare Services, Joslin Diabetes Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. "We hope this novel and engaging game will break down some of the barriers that are preventing people with diabetes from building a successful lifestyle approach to their condition."

HealthSeeker can be accessed at www.healthseekergame.org. The game was designed by Ayogo Games, Inc.

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