HEALTH

Emergen-C wants Facebook, Twitter users to ‘share the good’

BY Michael Johnsen

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. Alacer, maker of Emergen-C, on Wednesday announced the launch of its “Share the Good” social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

The “Share the Good” application on Facebook allows people to call out their friends’ low energy statuses, such as “Fell asleep at my desk” or “Dragging through the work day,” and share both virtual and real packets of Emergen-C vitamin drink mix with as many as 10 friends. When friends request their free Emergen-C Starter Kit, they’ll also watch a personalized video, featuring their profile picture and status update.

“People all over Facebook are crying for help, and you can see it in their statuses,” stated Ken Vargha, VP marketing at Alacer. “In the real world we see lots of people sharing Emergen-C with friends and family when they need health and energy support. As more of our social interactions are going digital, we want our consumers to be able to share Emergen-C vitamin drink mix through social media as well.”

As part of its “Share the Good” campaign, the Emergen-C brand also is “dusting off” its Twitter account, the company stated. Poking fun at the fact that it had previously tweeted only one time in 365 days, the brand will thank its mere 10 followers for their loyalty with a T-shirt featuring the Emergen-C brand’s single, year-old tweet: “checking out Joshua Lynn’s article.”

Going forward, Emergen-C Tweet Patrol will be searching across Twitter for low-energy tweets and sending those tweeters free Emergen-C packets. Alacer will also be sharing energy-boosting tips, health facts and trivia, upcoming events and more with its Twitter followers. Additionally, the Emergen-C Tweet Patrol will reward random Twitter followers who tweet keywords –– including  “tired” or “Emergen-C” –– with a free Emergen-C Starter Kit.

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WellDoc receives FDA approval for DiabetesManager System

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE WellDoc, a healthcare company that develops technology solutions to improve chronic disease management outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, on Monday announced that it has received Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance to market the WellDoc DiabetesManager System to healthcare providers and their adult patients with Type 2 diabetes.

BALTIMORE WellDoc, a healthcare company that develops technology solutions to improve chronic disease management outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, on Monday announced that it has received Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance to market the WellDoc DiabetesManager System to healthcare providers and their adult patients with Type 2 diabetes.

“With Type 2 diabetes reaching epidemic rates and limited time for care, healthcare providers need new tools to more efficiently engage their patients between and during office visits,” stated Richard Bergenstal, executive director of the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet and president of the American Diabetes Association. “WellDoc’s system addresses this need by delivering real-time, evidence-based education and behavioral coaching. This enhanced engagement and communication is intended to enable providers to support positive patient behavior and improved health.”

WellDoc’s mobile health system provides automated clinical coaching and behavioral algorithms driven by real-time patient data. The system supports patients and enables healthcare professionals to configure specific parameters and extend their care beyond traditional office visits by utilizing mobile phones and the Internet.

In development for more than five years, the DiabetesManager System supports medication adherence and securely provides for the capture, storage and real-time transmission of blood-glucose data and other diabetes self-management information. This information is then analyzed by the company’s proprietary Automated Expert Analytics System, which identifies trends and then delivers relevant educational and behavioral patient coaching and provider decision support, thus enabling effective lifestyle and medication adjustments.

“With the WellDoc DiabetesManager System, we provide the medical community with decision-support tools that can help doctors and patients work together to manage diabetes more effectively,” said Suzanne Sysko Clough, chief medical officer of WellDoc. “WellDoc products are rigorously developed by our clinical staff using evidence-based guidelines and then tested for their impact on health outcomes. Patients and providers expect a certain quality level from all medical devices, including mHealth solutions, so obtaining FDA clearance is a critical milestone.”

The company intends to commercially launch the WellDoc DiabetesManager System in early 2011, and will be an exhibitor in the inaugural Mobile Health Pavilion at the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, August 4-7 in San Antonio.

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Obesity rates triple among certain states, CDC finds

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30% or more tripled in two years to nine states in 2009, according to a CDC Vital Signs report issued Tuesday.

In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more. The report, "State-Specific Obesity Prevalence Among Adults – United States, 2009," also found no state met the nation’s Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%.

 

ATLANTA The number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30% or more tripled in two years to nine states in 2009, according to a CDC Vital Signs report issued Tuesday.

In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more. The report, "State-Specific Obesity Prevalence Among Adults – United States, 2009," also found no state met the nation’s Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%.

 

The data found a 110 basis point increase — an additional 2.4 million people — in the self-reported prevalence of obesity between 2007 and 2009 among adults ages 18 years and over. The report also noted the medical costs associated with obesity have climbed. In 2008 dollars, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. People who are obese had medical costs that were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, the report said.

 

 

"Obesity continues to be a major public health problem," stated Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas Frieden. "We need intensive, comprehensive and ongoing efforts to address obesity. If we don’t more people will get sick and die from obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death."

 

The August Vital Signs report is based on new data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. To assess obesity prevalence, approximately 400,000 phone survey respondents were asked to provide their height and weight, which was used to calculate their body mass index. An adult is considered obese if he or she has a BMI of 30 or above.

 

However, the BRFSS obesity data are underestimates of true obesity prevalence, CDC suggested. Research has found that both men and women often said they are taller than they actually are and women often say they weigh less than they do in telephone surveys. As a result, according to William Dietz, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, the overall BRFSS obesity prevalence estimate of 26.7% is 720 basis points lower than the national 2007-2008 estimate of 33.9% (nearly 73 million people) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, for which individuals’ height and weight were measured rather than self-reported.

 

 

The BRFSS data highlight how obesity affects some populations more than others. The highest prevalence was found among non-Hispanic blacks overall, whose rate was 36.8%, and non-Hispanic black women, whose rate was 41.9%. The rate for Hispanics was 30.7%. The rate among all non-high school graduates was 32.9%. Obesity prevalence also was higher in some regions than others. The South had an obesity prevalence of 28.4 %while the Midwest had a prevalence of 28.2%.

 

"Obesity is a complex problem that requires both personal and community action," Dietz said. "People in all communities should be able to make healthy choices, but in order to make those choices there must be healthy choices to make. We need to change our communities into places where healthy eating and active living are the easiest path."

 

The federal government is intensifying its efforts to reduce and prevent obesity through new initiatives such as the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to address childhood obesity and the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program. The CPPW program provides guidance and funding to states and communities to change state and local environments and policies related to diet and physical activity.

 

 

For more information on obesity prevalence, including an animated map, visit CDC.gov/vitalsigns or CDC.gov/obesity.

 

Click here a transcript of a CDC media briefing regarding obesity.

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