OSU extension diabetes prevention game wins national honor

December 2, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An educational board game developed by the Oregon State University Extension Service to help Latino children and adults learn about diabetes prevention has won a national award for creative excellence.

Lotería de Diabetes, or Diabetes Bingo, is based on a traditional Mexican game of chance called Lotería – similar to the game widely known as Bingo. The Lotería de Diabetes version was adapted for Extension educational use by Debra Minar Driscoll, an OSU Extension family and community development faculty member in Polk and Yamhill counties. It recently received the 2005 National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Communications Award in the Educational Curriculum Package category.

“This award is well-deserved recognition for an innovative and creative approach to delivering disease prevention education to the growing Latino population in Oregon,” said Marc Braverman, OSU Extension Family and Community Development Program leader.

Driscoll developed the game to help clients understand how serious diabetes can be and to increase awareness about diabetes prevention and management. Diabetes is the fifth-deadliest disease in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 21 million people in the United States have the disease, which disproportionately affects certain ethnic groups, including Latinos. More than 8 percent of Hispanic Americans 20 years and older – about 2 million people in that demographic alone – have diabetes.

“In my teaching activities and in conversations with Extension colleagues I became aware that many Latinos participating in OSU Extension education programs around the state have significant problems with diabetes or have family members suffering from complications of the disease such as blindness or amputations,” said Driscoll.

“Using Lotería as a model for an educational game seemed a good approach to make learning about diabetes management and prevention both visual and fun,” she added.

Although similar to Bingo, Lotería does not use a number matching system. Instead, it is based on matching illustrations on playing boards with pictures on randomly selected game cards.

“In Lotería de Diabetes, the pictures are very effective at conveying educational messages about the types of diabetes, symptoms of the disease and disease prevention recommendations,” said Driscoll. “And most Latinos are already familiar with the game because they know the traditional Lotería game.”

Reading skills are not required, making the game easy to play, Driscoll noted.

“Often at health fairs and other similar types of events where the game is available, whole families – children and adults – will play it together,” she said.

Lotería de Diabetes, or Diabetes Bingo, (EM 8855) is available on CD from the OSU Extension Service. The cost is $30 per game plus $6.00 shipping and handling. More information about the game and how to order a copy is available online at http://eesc.orst.edu/agcomwebfile/edmat/EM8855.pdf.

Author: Bob Rost