Weight Watchers Launches New Offering Through Employers Tailored For People With Type 2 Diabetes

New Offering Provides Personalized Coaching from Certified Diabetes Educators Trained in the Weight Watchers Proven Approach to Weight Loss
Orlando Health Signs On As First Client

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, March 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW) today announced Weight Watchers for Diabetes, a new Weight Watchers Health Solutions offering that serves the unique needs of employees with type 2 diabetes by integrating personalized coaching from a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) into the Weight Watchers proven approach to weight loss and weight management. Orlando Health, one of Florida's most comprehensive private, not-for-profit healthcare networks, has signed on as the first organization to offer Weight Watchers for Diabetes to its employees.

Employees who participate in Weight Watchers for Diabetes join Weight Watchers meetings along with other employees and use Weight Watchers digital tools with Monthly Pass. In addition, they are paired with a dedicated CDE who also is a registered dietitian and specially-trained in the Weight Watchers approach. The member has unlimited access to the dedicated CDE – a certified health care professional who works directly with each individual to tailor the Weight Watchers plan to his or her specific needs. Employees with type 2 diabetes who enroll not only benefit from support from Weight Watchers leaders, who have successfully lost weight on the program, but also the one-on-one guidance from Weight Watchers CDEs who are specially-trained to tailor the Weight Watchers plan for the unique needs of a person with type 2 diabetes.

In participating areas, employers that contract with Weight Watchers Health Solutions for on-site Weight Watchers meetings and Weight Watchers digital tools with Monthly Pass will now be able to offer a weight management plan designed for their employees with type 2 diabetes.

"According to the CDC, losing 5 to 10 percent of body weight has been shown to produce health benefits, including improving blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars, which are important type 2 diabetes health indicators," said Jan Veliko, RN, CDE, clinical director of the new Weight Watchers for Diabetes offering. "Our two-pronged approach helps employees with type 2 diabetes to lose weight, which can help them make real strides in improving their overall health."

Weight loss can also improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes by decreasing blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.1

Once enrolled in Weight Watchers for Diabetes, members benefit from the services provided by Weight Watchers meetings and digital tools, as well as the following specialized services:   

  • unlimited one-on-one coaching from a dedicated CDE through ongoing support via phone or e-mail
  • two scheduled on-boarding consultations with their CDE
  • a personalized food plan that is tailored to their individual needs by their CDE
  • guidance on important healthy lifestyle topics that are tailored for them, including advice on activity and exercise, blood sugar level goals, and the impact of carbohydrates on blood sugar.

"What makes this different is that for the first time we've integrated the Weight Watchers proven approach to weight loss with the expertise and coaching of CDEs who are focused on improving health indicators of employees with type 2 diabetes," said Colin Watts, president of Weight Watchers Health Solutions. "As healthcare costs soar, employers are looking for innovative ways to improve the overall health of their employees, including those with costly chronic diseases, while reining in expenses. Weight Watchers for Diabetes can help them to deliver against that goal."

Orlando Health, one of Florida's most comprehensive private, not-for-profit healthcare networks, has been offering Weight Watchers weight management services to its employees through Weight Watchers Health Solutions since January 2013.

"Weight Watchers for Diabetes is a smart investment for the organization and for team members who suffer from type 2 diabetes.  Not only can it help to reduce the tremendous medical costs associated with diabetes and its complications, it can also improve the health and well-being of many of our team members," said Christy Pearson, chief operating officer, Human Resources, Orlando Health. "We've been impressed by how well our team members do with Weight Watchers, so we're excited to offer this new integrated benefit specifically to those with type 2 diabetes."

Orlando Health is not alone in helping employees better manage their health and making the reduction of health care costs associated with chronic diseases like diabetes a priority. U.S. businesses spend $68.6 billion in indirect diagnosed diabetes-related costs including absenteeism, presenteeism, and reduced workforce participation due to disability and loss in productivity. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures that are 2.3 times higher than those without diabetes. Additionally, people with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes or complications from the disease can incur direct health care costs two to eight times more than people with controlled diabetes.2

"Diabetes is an expensive disease and its complications can be costly over many years," explained Gary Foster, PhD, co-chief scientific officer, Weight Watchers. "We know that weight loss can have important health benefits and that through weight loss overall health can be improved.1 We're confident that following an effective weight loss program can help reduce both the physical and financial costs of diabetes."

Weight Watchers piloted its new diabetes offering in several locations around the country, including at a large employer client, and the results were very promising.

Organizations with 5,000 or more employees in participating areas who are interested in learning more about Weight Watchers for Diabetes can call 1-800-8-ATWORK or visit www.weightwatchers.com/Diabetes.  

About Weight Watchers Health Solutions

Weight Watchers Health Solutions provides Weight Watchers weight loss and weight management services including on-site workplace meetings as well as access to Weight Watchers digital tools to meet the needs of a growing number of employers and insurance companies seeking to improve the health of their employees and members. Weight Watchers Health Solutions also provides helpful tools to its customers such as incentives alignment, employee communications and data analysis.

About Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world's leading provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds more than 40,000 meetings each week where members receive group support and learn about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and physical activity. WeightWatchers.com provides innovative, subscription weight management products over the Internet and is the leading Internet-based provider of these products in the world. In addition, Weight Watchers offers a wide range of products, publications and programs for those interested in weight loss and weight control.

References

1 The Look AHEAD Research Group; Long-term Effects of a lifestyle Intervention on Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Four-Year Results of the Look AHEAD Trial, Arch Of Intern Med 2010; 170 (17):1566-1575

2 American Diabetes Association: Economic cost of diabetes in the U.S. in 2012. Diabetes Care 2013; 36: 1033-1046.

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