According to The San Francisco Chronicle Jim Schutz tried everything to get lifelong friend Jeff Hagen to lose weight after Hagen hit 290 pounds and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He tried encouragement, shame, humor and anger. Nothing worked until he appealed to Hagen's love of fantasy football.
blockquote>I realized that if I could get him as passionate about his health, I would succeed in helping him," says Schutz.
The 42-year-old men devised Fantasy Healthball, a game for die-hard football fans who want to lose weight and improve their health. Its goal is to help sports fans get off the couch and become athletes themselves - and have fun doing it.
Inspired by fantasy football, Healthball players are awarded a second score for meeting seven health goals they set for themselves each week, earning points for choices such as going to the gym or eating a salad rather than an order of french fries.
So instead of just managing a team of professional football players, Healthball players have a separate roster of the health challenges they set out to meet. Their football and Healthball scores are matched against the points earned by their weekly fantasy football opponent.
For those not in a fantasy football league, alternatives include competing against your favorite NFL team or friends playing Healthball.
The game started with a website launched during the Super Bowl in 2008, added a weekly blog and is now the subject of a book, <a href=""Fantasy Healthball - Football Edition" (Good Fight Publishing, 166 pages, $18.95), co-authored by Schutz (under the pen name Jim Ballard) and Hagen. The book offers scorecards for playing Healthball as well as health tips for winning.
Photo by Fantasy Healthball.