New Game on Facebook Helps People with Diabetes Improve Everyday Behaviors

HealthSeeker Players Can Enlist ‘Friends’ for Ongoing Support in Improving their Understanding and Management of Diabetes

Ridgefield, CT, June 14, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — A new game called HealthSeeker™ launched today to more than 400 million active users of Facebook®1 , with the goal of helping adults with specific lifestyle and nutritional challenges. 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 a 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 along the road to better health. There are MISSIONS and ACTION STEPS to help players achieve several LIFESTYLE GOALS. The MISSIONS and ACTION STEPS that players select must be completed in order to advance in the game. The LIFESTYLE GOALS include eating healthier, achieving an optimal weight, lowering blood sugar levels 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 experts, advocates and industry partners who are on the front lines of diabetes care. It was developed by Diabetes Hands Foundation in collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center, with 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, Diabetes Hands Foundation, who has been living with diabetes since 2002. “I cannot overstate how important a source of support, information and inspiration social networking tools like this one 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 presenting simple, everyday steps to help them achieve their lifestyle goals.

“As a clinician who has been treating people with diabetes for more than 30 years, I can tell you that food is often the most frustrating area of concern for people with the condition,” said Richard Jackson, MD, 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 prevent people with diabetes from building a successful lifestyle approach to their condition.”

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

Support from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for HealthSeeker is part of a global initiative that includes a collection of creative online diabetes games reflecting the company’s commitment to transforming one way that people learn, through innovative education.

About Diabetes

Approximately 272 million Americans and 285 million people worldwide2 have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, accounting for more than 90 percent of all diabetes cases in the developed world.3 Each year, more than 231,000 people in North America2 and more than 3.96 million people worldwide die from diabetes and its complications2 – a number which is expected to increase by more than 50 percent over the next decade.3 Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body either does not properly produce, or use, the hormone insulin.4

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 142 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 41,500 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $17.7 billion (12.7 billion euro) while spending 21% of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.

For more information, please visit http://us.boehringer-ingelheim.com
On Twitter: twitter.com/boehringerus

About Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF)

Diabetes Hands Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to connecting people touched by diabetes (those with diabetes, as well as their loved ones) and raising diabetes awareness.

Through its online communities (TuDiabetes.org in English, EsTuDiabetes.org in Spanish) and its other social media channels, DHF offers support and information to nearly 200,000 people every month.

Since 2008, DHF has developed pioneering diabetes awareness programs such as Word In Your Hand™, Drawing Diabetes, No-Sugar Added Poetry, Making Sense of Diabetes and The Big Blue Test.

For more information, please visit www.diabeteshandsfoundation.org
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/diabetesHF
On Twitter: twitter.com/diabetesHF
On YouTube: www.youtube.com/DiabetesHands

DHF does not endorse products or services.

About Joslin Diabetes Center

Joslin Diabetes Center is the world's preeminent diabetes research and clinical care organization. Joslin is dedicated to ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives and offers real hope and progress toward diabetes prevention and a cure. Founded in 1898 by Elliott P. Joslin, M.D., Joslin is an independent, nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

For more information, please call 1-800-JOSLIN-1 or visit www.joslin.org
For research and clinical news at Inside Joslin: www.joslin.org/news/inside_joslin.html
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/joslindiabetescenter
On Twitter: twitter.com/JoslinDiabetes

Joslin Diabetes Center does not endorse products or services.

About Ayogo Games, Inc.

Ayogo Games, Inc. is a Vancouver-based studio that creates innovative gaming experiences enjoyed on social networks (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, etc.), and mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, etc.). We help content creators and rights holders build new revenue streams and new audiences for their content.

For more information, please visit: www.ayogo.com
For CEO Michael Fergusson’s Social Game Design Blog:
www.ayogo.com/social-game-design
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/ayogo
On Twitter: twitter.com/ayogogames

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Media Contacts:

Kate O’Connor
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(203) 791-6250

Glenn Silver
Chamberlain Healthcare Public Relations
(212) 884-0646

 


1 Facebook. Statistics. Press Room, 2010. Available at: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics. Accessed on: May 6th, 2010.
2 International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes Atlas. 4th edn. Brussels: International Diabetes Federation, 2009.
3 World Health Organization. Fact Sheet No. 312: What is Diabetes? Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/. Accessed on: February 4, 2009.
4 International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes Atlas. 3rd edn. Brussels: International Diabetes Federation, 2006.