Next step for diabetes support app


Professor Isabelle Skinner and Professor Timothy Skinner are working to help people living with Type 2 Diabetes

Professor Isabelle Skinner and Professor Timothy Skinner are working to help people living with Type 2 Diabetes

Charles Darwin University researchers are hoping to make a difference to millions of people around the world living with Type 2 Diabetes.

After launching the “emojifit Diabetes” app in March 2017 School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences head Professor Timothy Skinner and Director of the Office of Learning and Teaching Professor Isabelle Skinner are now working on expanding its reach to android phone users.

“Since our launch we have thousands of users in 30 countries and more than 430,000 followers on Facebook,” Professor Isabelle Skinner said. “There are an estimated 415 million people living with Type 2 diabetes worldwide, almost 100 million of those are android phone users.”

She said it was the first lifestyle app of its kind, and a grant from the Northern Territory Department of Trade Business and Innovation would allow them to expand its reach.

“We wanted to build a simple tool to address the key issues faced by those with Type 2 diabetes,” she said. To ensure the app was user friendly, they partnered with designer D’Arcy Ellis to translate health concepts into pictograms.

In the process the team developed a new library of health emojis that includes emotions, food, activity and some related to medical procedures and concerns.

“It is now being used as an information source by both men and women for exercise and diet advice,” she said.

“The grant will allow us to convert the technology to suit android phone users.”

Professor Timothy Skinner, who has been working in diabetes care for more than 20 years, said the app was already helping people to manage lifestyle change.

“The app is for people who have Type 2 Diabetes, who are often told to change their lifestyle to prevent the disease from becoming more serious,” he said. “It helps with managing anything from medication to diet and exercise.”

He said the app was supporting people work out the best ways for them to manage their diabetes helping them prioritise, gain confidence, and also get support from family, friends and their health care team to keep moving forward with change one step at a time.

“We have looked at the plans that people have set for their diabetes using the app, and our research shows that the plans they have created are in line with evidence based guidelines for effective management of diabetes provided by health care professionals,” he said.

“We hope that people with diabetes will feel able to take charge of their own goals and be supported to achieve them,” he said. “Life is busy; the app provides friendly reminders for people that they set the goal to exercise five times this week, or to reduce snacks between meals.”

For more information or to download the app visit W: or the Apple App Store. The android app is due for release in December.


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