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IQ News: Heart Association Exercises Online

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Blue Dingo Digital, New York, has created a new advertiser-sponsored fitness Web site for the American Heart Association that leverages the possibilities of interactivity to educate visitors about the benefits of physical activity.
The site, www.justmove.org, serves a primary audience of adults aged 25-55 at all levels of physical activity. Rusty Breedlove, new media director for the American Heart Association in Dallas, said that in addition to educating Americans on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, the site is also intended to motivate users to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke regardless of their current level of activity.
Among the site's features are a My Fitness section that determines users' appropriate activity levels. Fitness News provides health-related stories from the Reuters news service, and the site also has an event calendar for AHA events and a bulletin board area for users to communicate with each other.
Another feature, scheduled to go live in a few weeks, brings the concept of online personal training to the Web. In the Exercise Diary, users log the type of activity they will do and what their goals are. An interactive "personal trainer" function will monitor their progress, sending motivational tips and e-mail reminders with "a very friendly prodding" if they fall behind, according to Joe Beatrice, president of Blue Dingo Digital.
"It's almost like it's external to you," he added. "It's somebody that's going to keep up with what you're doing."
Users may also opt to be part of a national fitness database to see how their activity corresponds with others of their age and gender.
Bayer Corporation is currently the exclusive sponsor, with its aspirin logo attached to fitness and health facts throughout the site. The AHA may consider future non-competing sponsors to defray expenses, Breedlove said. The site will be promoted through AHA materials, public service announcements, at AHA events and on other AHA sites.
The AHA launched its flagship site, www.americanheart.org, in September 1995, and has several consumer and professional sites providing information on nutrition, stroke, congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure. --Adrienne Mand