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American Diabetes Association launches ClubPed

The American Diabetes Association has introduced ClubPed, an innovative, interactive online tool designed to encourage regular physical activity.

Results from the Diabetes Prevention Program study demonstrated that people who lost as little as 10 to 15 pounds and exercised 30 minutes a day at least five times a week reduced their risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent during the course of the study. And for those who have diabetes, staying active helps manage the disease and reduce complications. But even with such tangible benefits, people can have a difficult time getting motivated and staying on track.

ClubPed -- one of a number of tools the Association is developing to fill this need -- was created to make it interesting and fun to set exercise goals and stick to them.

"The American Diabetes Association is committed to enhancing our online tools and technology to help constituents prevent or delay the onset of diabetes or, for those with diabetes, to help them manage the disease," says Rick Johnston, vice president of constituent relations for the Association. "ClubPed, which complements our recently updated and enhanced exercise content on diabetes.org, reinforces the importance of physical activity and provides a fun tool and some cool rewards to keep it going. And walking is a natural -- it's free, requires no special equipment, people of all ages can enjoy it all year long, and people do it everyday anyway."

Visitors to ClubPed (www.diabetes.org/clubped) are asked to set a realistic walking goal. Choices include walking a certain number of steps each week, walking three times each week, or walking a certain number of steps by a pre-determined date. Participants can also walk individually, or join an online walking group.

Once personal walking goals begin to be met, one of two rewards is offered:

The Evolving Story
Participants choosing this option pick one of three serialized stories a mystery, a romance or an action/adventure tale -- as their reward. After hitting each pre-determined goal, a "chapter" of a story becomes available. As participants continue to hit their goals, they continue to receive chapters of the chosen story. Each story contains 10-13 segments and all have a cliff-hanger appeal, leaving participants wanting more and providing extra motivation to keep walking.

The Virtual Dog
A virtual pet that participants take care of by taking care of themselves. Participants choosing this option select the personality of their dog, "happy," "witty," or "wild." The more participants walk, the happier and healthier the dog becomes. The more goals achieved, the more tricks the dog learns. Tricks include catching a ball, catching a Frisbee, jumping through a hoop of fire and one you'll have to see to believe!

Other important features of ClubPed include the ability to offer encouragement and support to other walkers on the ClubPed Message Board and graphs that chart and illustrate individual progress. Upcoming additions to the site will include testimonials, personal stories and information on the Association's community-based activities -- such as America's Walk for Diabetes and School Walk for Diabetes -- that provide opportunities to actively contribute to the fight against diabetes and walk for personal good health.

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