NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -01/10/12)- HealthyWage™ (www.HealthyWage.com), the only U.S. company offering Americans the opportunity to earn money losing weight through any diet and/or fitness program they choose to follow (Weight Watchers®, Jenny Craig®, Nutrisystem®, Atkins®, or any other formal or informal diet/fitness regimen), today announced notable company milestones achieved throughout 2011 that further validate its innovative "weight-loss wagering" approach and underscore the popularity and efficacy of the "dieting for dollars" paradigm. Namely, the company's membership base grew more than 500% over the year prior, with program participants collectively losing more than 880,000 pounds. For their weight-loss achievements, HealthyWage collectively paid dieters over $450,000 cash. In addition, while in 2010 HealthyWage had no corporate participants, in 2011 the company secured over 250 high-caliber corporate participants, including General Electric, CDW, New York & Company, Healthfirst, and many large hospitals, health systems, insurers, school districts and municipal governments throughout the U.S. seeking to bolster their corporate wellness initiatives.
HealthyWage is founded on research that proves cash rewards triple the effectiveness of weight loss programs. "Studies show that monetary incentives serve to enhance the effectiveness of, and duly complement, weight-loss programs of any and all sorts, especially when paid out quickly like our various programs," said HealthyWage co-founder David Roddenberry. "This is one reason why financial health incentives are a growing trend, with more than 50% of self-insured employers in the U.S now offering some type of financial inducement as part of their healthcare program." More informally, a currently running online poll* asks "would wagering money help you lose weight?" Results reveal that the vast majority of the nearly 5,000 respondents (83%) feel that "Yes. Money is great motivator," while less than one-fifth of respondents (17%) feel a cash incentive would not help their weight-loss plight.
The Money Motivation Model
HealthyWage currently offers three distinct cash rewards-based diet programs that pay participants to successfully make healthy choices. The company's pioneering BMI Challenge pays $1,000 to those who invest $300 to participate and move from an obese BMI classification (greater than 30) to a normal BMI (less than 25) over a year's time, while following a few rules and checking in on a weekly basis. For those who prefer to participate in the BMI Challenge for free, without any up-front investment, HealthyWage offers the option to earn $100 for achieving these same term-based BMI goals. To date, approximately 25% of individuals who committed their own money have won the cash prize and achieved a healthy weight through this particular program. In fact, the company determined that participants who put their own money at risk are more than 10-times more likely to win the BMI Challenge.
HealthyWage also offers "Matchup" competitions -- team weight-loss contests that reward top-performing teams with a total of $18,000 in cash prizes. Throughout each Matchup teams of 5 compete for the greatest percentage of weight lost over a 3-month period. Each participant pays a $60 registration fee and weighs in at the beginning and end of the contest at a local health club. The rules discourage unhealthful tactics by limiting the 12-week weight loss to 16.7 percent of body weight and one-week losses to 1.5 percent.
In addition to those participating at an individual level, large employers also join the Matchups in a "Company vs. Company" division where they compete against other organizations to have their employees lose the greatest percentage weight. Participants in HealthyWage Matchup contests have realized notable results, with median weight loss of 4.6 percent and more than 40 percent of participants losing over five percent of their body weight -- a clinically significant amount associated with improved health and lowered health care costs.
Most recently HealthyWage launched its "10% Challenge" that allows health-seekers nationwide to "bet" -- and profit -- on shedding their unwanted pounds. Through this program, participants pay $100 for an opportunity to double their money and earn $200 for losing just 10% of their starting body weight, BMI aside, within 6-months. Each participant's starting and ending weights are verified at one of thousands of HealthyWage health club partners throughout the U.S., with each member also self-reporting their weight online once per week.
HealthyWage is at the forefront of the health incentives trend -- efforts the company hopes will counter costly alternatives overweight and obese individuals will face up ahead. This includes the recent health care Bill Affordable Care Act (Section 2705) stipulating that, starting in 2014, employers can use measures such as BMI to adjust health insurance premiums based on outcome-based wellness incentives by up to 30% -- up from the current 20% level. In addition, Arizona recently proposed charging obese residents on Medicaid $50 as a financial penalty for being overweight. The proposition is currently under review, with similar consideration being given in other states.
Those interested in learning more may do so online at www.HealthyWage.com.
Health and wellness purveyor HealthyWage is the only U.S. company that provides cash incentives, social and expert-based support, tools and resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies to address our nation's obesity epidemic and improve America's collective health. The company was founded in response to academic research that proves even small cash rewards triple the effectiveness of weight-loss programs; that people are more effective at losing weight when their own money is at risk; and that social networks play a large role in the spread of obesity, and will likely play a large role in reversing obesity. Learn more online at www.HealthyWage.com.
Note to Editors: Individual and corporate contestants, health club participants (contest weigh-in locations), and/or a HealthyWage company executive available for interview.
*Survey results as of January 9, 2012; http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/03/8618483-hefty-wager-lose-weight-or-lose-your-money