'Channeling' Your Inner Health

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Jason Bailey

Most of us use our television sets for entertainment, but new technology may offer patients with diabetes more than that a way to shed pounds.

Most of us probably don't see television as a way to improve your health, but that's exactly what it is for Helgard Gray.

"I could not walk anymore, my feet and legs hurt terribly," says Gray.

When genetics and weight gain led to diabetes, she decided to make some changes. Gray says, "It's almost like reporting to your mother a little bit."

Actually, she reports to this specially designed TV set. A scale and blood sugar monitor are connected to it. When Helgard checks both, the information goes directly to her doctors.

"It makes you try so much harder, I think, yes, that's the difference, the daily monitoring, yes," says Gray.

Jennifer Lovejoy, Ph.d. says, "It allows us to bring, essentially, the intervention team for weight loss into the person's home via the television."

Doctor Lovejoy is conducting a study to find out whether TV can give type two diabetics the support they need to lose weight without going to a clinic.

"Our idea was really to say, 'how can we make television a tool? How can we make television helpful?' instead of being spart of the problem, let it be part of the solution," says Lovejoy.

The program also tracks patients' diet and exercise habits. It also enlists a voice command and response system that is encouragment to Helgard, helping her to keep losing weight and live a healthy life.

The study uses computer technology in a television because many patients don't have access to a computer, but nearly everyone has a TV set.