Helping teens recognize type 2 diabetes and make healthier lifestyle choices is the theme of the new, free “I Got This” interactive story app from UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science. Now available on iOS and coming soon to Android, the story is told through the eyes of a teenage girl who learns she has type 2 diabetes.
The interactive "I Got This" app raises teens’ and families’ awareness of this serious disease, which is increasingly common worldwide. The app also illustrates how healthy changes in diet and exercise can help diabetic teens cope and family members reduce their own disease risk.
“I Got This” follows a teenager who is struggling with her schoolwork, sports and friendships because she feels tired and irritable, has gained weight, and needs to use the bathroom frequently. She doesn’t know she has type 2 diabetes, or that her family has a history of and is at risk of getting the disease, until she passes out at school and is sent for medical tests. The app’s realistic storyline captures how stressful type 2 diabetes can be and how negatively it can affect teenagers’ social interactions. “I Got This” also conveys how important support from family and friends is in addition to ongoing medical oversight.
“By relating to a young character who learns she has this disease and copes with it through positive changes and family support, both teens and adults can empower themselves to deal with type 2 diabetes and help their own families and friends,” says app developer Matt Lewandowski of the LHS Center for Technology Innovation. Type 2 diabetes often goes undiagnosed for long periods because people don’t know they are showing classic symptoms. Teens and their families may have no idea that adolescents can even be at risk for this disease.
The app was funded by a National Institutes of Health SEPA Award. LHS developers created “I Got This” in collaboration with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, and with advice from curriculum developers at LHS, Tufts University, and Children’s National Health System. “I Got This” is a companion app to Monster Heart Medic and DIY Human Body, also created by LHS. These apps focus on helping kids and families learn more about how their bodies work and staying healthy.