I've been to a bunch of "Health 2.0" events in which the question inevitably came up: does all this online stuff really have the potential to improve people's health? Well yes, was my response, because we don't just use to it chat, but also to motivate each other and even create campaigns and contests for tangible changes like weight loss, fitness, and lowering your A1c.
These kind of online health challenges are really catching on, and becoming ever more sophisticated and more fun, if you ask me. There was of course the DiabetesMine Holiday Survival Sweepstakes, that resulted in a great community-created eBook on "Nuggets of Wisdom" for coping with diabetes.
Today I want to tell you about a few new contests I find blog-worthy:
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* Simple Steps for Health was recently launched by the TuDiabetes and Diabetes Daily networks. They're asking people to submit ideas for "small things that someone with diabetes can do to live a healthy life -- without spending a lot of money or time."
The fun part is that submissions can be text, photo or video-based, as long as they're small (no more than 1,000 characters, 1 or 2 photos or 1-minute long videos), and can be voted on by the community if you so choose. Submissions are accepted until April 30, and eight winners will receive a one-year subscription to "Diabetic Living magazine," a box of ten Granola Gourmet Energy Bars and other good stuff.
* Lights - Camera - Active -- a "living active with diabetes" contest from The Chris Dudley Foundation (former NBA basketball player). You've got one more week to enter this one! (Submissions accepted until April 24, 2009).
They're looking for adults and young adults to submit a 1 to 3 minute video showing how you stay active day to day, whether you're involved in dance, skateboarding, basketball, track and field. Being active, according to the Foundation, doesn't even have to be playing sports. It could be playing an instrument in a band or participating in theater. The point is to move your body, and be encouraging to others to do the same.
The criteria for the winning video is pretty straightforward: "creative, unique, inspiring and reflects how you are active day to day." Entries will be judged in two age categories, 18 and over and under 18. The adult winner will receive a free camcorder and the kids winner will get a cool Nintendo Wii!
* Express Your Simple Win Creativity Contest. This one's a commercial venture from Bayer Diabetes Care as part of their marketing/awareness campaign featuring Nick Jonas. It's a new online video contest in which young people with diabetes ages 6-18 can submit videos demonstrating their "Simple Wins" -- small everyday victories for managing diabetes. I mention it because: 1) Nick Jonas is hugely popular, and his endorsement means a lot to many kids with D, and 2) it still counts as a motivational contest along the lines I'm describing here.
For this one, video submissions can be anything from original song lyrics to photography, painting/drawing, acting or another form of creativity. To enter the contest, just go to www.NicksSimpleWins.com and upload your video.
During the last week of each month from April through September, the top three videos will be posted on the website, and the public will vote on the best one, which will be announced at the end of the month. Each monthly winner will win "a signed Nick Jonas item" and be eligible for the Grand Prize drawing. In October, following the end of the contest, the top three favorite videos will be picked by a team of judges and those entrants will get to meet Nick in person! (OMG!)
Everybody likes to win stuff, right? And these kind of inspirational health contests are definitely win-win scenarios. So get going!