Qualcomm taps Shaq to promote Fitbit; Nintendo eyes healthcare

By Brian Dolan

Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsShaq now championing digital health: In a syndicated column that ran in CNBC, The Daily Beast and elsewhere this morning, retired professional basketball star  Shaquille O'Neal announced that he had "been engaged with the technology company Qualcomm" for the past few months learning about the importance of wireless health. In the editorial Shaq says he uses a Fitbit (Qualcomm is an investor in the company) and that he has a personal interest in promoting the use of devices like the Fitbit for diabetes prevention since his father recently passed away because of complications relating to diabetes.

"I see a huge opportunity here to educate patients with a chronic disease, particularly those who have or may develop type 2 diabetes, about the amazing innovations entering the market today to help them manage their disease and reduce the risk of serious complications," Shaq writes in a column explaining his work with the World Economic Forum. "It is also critical that we empower all people, not just those who have already been diagnosed with chronic diseases, about how they can better manage their health. As a 7'1'’, 335-pound man, I am eager to learn about how I can proactively maintain my good health using today’s technology."

Shaq also included the increasingly common "technology can't solve all our problems" caveat, which the CEO of Joslin Diabetes picked up on and reaffirmed in a comment on The Daily Beast version of the column. While it seems absurd to think otherwise, that caveat really has become a standard opener or closer to most digital health discussions these days, hasn't it?

Nintendo is struggling, sets sights on healthcare: Tokyo-based Nintendo announced a new stealthy product that would launch in April 2015 that would make taking care of our health concerns as fun as playing games. The Wall Street Journal reports that CEO Satoru Iwata "said the new product wouldn't be wearable, that it wasn't an extension or version of the Wii Balance Board -- which players can use to measure their weight or posture while playing on a Nintendo exercise game -- and that it wouldn't be used in the living room." The report also noted that Nintendo has experimented with reinvention before and has launched businesses related to taxis, instant rice, and even "love hotels". A few months ago MobiHealthNews reported on Nintendo's plans to take on the Fitbits and Misfit Wearables of the world with its own wearable activity tracker device.

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