An estimated two million Latinos in the United States have type 2 diabetes, a full 10 percent of the Latino population. Facebook, the fourth most popular Internet site among Latinos, reaches nearly 45 percent of the Latino population that goes online. Put those two facts together, and you have the audience for a new online game, HealthSeekerTM Explorando tu Salud, Paso a Paso (“Exploring Your Health, Step by Step”).
The game, introduced on World Diabetes Day in mid-November, encourages players to connect with their Facebook friends to create a mutual support network for dealing with diabetes. It can be downloaded for free at www.ExplorandoTuSalud.org.
The game consists of “missions” (misiones) and “action steps” (pasos a seguir), such as eating more fiber, fruits, and vegetables and increasing daily exercise, to achieve “lifestyle goals” (metas de estilo de vida). Lifestyle goals include lowering blood sugar levels, eating more healthily, reaching an optimal weight, and lessening cardiovascular risk factors. Players must complete missions and actions to advance in the game. As they complete steps, they receive points and awards.
Designed by Vancouver-based social networking game creator Ayogo Games, Inc., Explorando tu Salud is the result of a collaboration between the Diabetes Hands Foundation and the Joslin Diabetes Center and Joslin Latino Diabetes Initiative, with support from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. An English language version of HealthSeekerTM was launched last June.