LOUISVILLE, Ky. & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With levels of obesity and its health-related impacts continuing to rise in the U.S., employers are facing a fast-growing threat to productivity and employee health. Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies, and Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW), the world’s leading provider of weight management services, announced today that they have teamed up to help employers attack the problem.
All Humana members in qualified employer-sponsored health plans now have free and discounted access to Weight Watchers through an integrated wellness program built into their health plan, giving Humana members a proven and accessible approach to change their habits and improve their health. The first-of-its-kind program closely integrates Weight Watchers into Humana’s many medical and wellness programs, actively connecting members who want to lose weight to the program at no cost for six months, and at a significant discount thereafter.
“We want to help employers find effective ways to battle obesity, improve the overall wellness of their employees and create healthy communities,” said Beth Bierbower, President of Humana’s Employer Group Segment. “With that in mind, partnering with Weight Watchers just made sense – it allows us to connect our members with a leading weight loss program so that they can better navigate their wellness journeys.”
“As the leading weight management program focused on helping people change their behavior and achieve their goals, our mission to ‘change people’s relationship with food for good’ directly aligns with Humana’s mission to support lifelong well-being,” said Jim Chambers, president and chief executive officer, Weight Watchers International, Inc. “Working together, we can help more people develop the goals, plans and skills they need to improve their overall health.”
Remke Markets, a family-owned grocer with twelve locations in Kentucky and Ohio, is heavily engaged in workplace wellness and excited to offer the new program to its 900 employees. President Matthew Remke sees the new offering from Humana and Weight Watchers as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle opportunity for his employees and their families.
“What I like about this program is that it actively connects people who want to get to a healthy weight with a trusted, well-known and effective program, and then helps make it affordable,” Remke said. “The health risk that extra weight poses for our associates and their families is reason enough to want to attack the problem, but there are also serious consequences of an unhealthy workforce for an employer trying to compete in a tough marketplace.”
According to recent studies, U.S. employers are losing billions in productivity every year to obesity-related health issues.1 Additional research shows that obese and overweight employees are at higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases, all of which contribute to healthcare costs.2 While there is no silver bullet for managing obesity, more employers are taking on this challenge by offering resources to employees.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Guidelines support intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions, including community-based programs, as effective for obesity treatment. As a behavioral intervention, Weight Watchers helps people to adopt a healthier lifestyle that results in achieving and learning to maintain a healthy weight.
“Obesity is a significant health issue for this country and has a devastating effect on the health of employees and, by extension, on their employers,” said Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. “We applaud the commitment by Humana and Weight Watchers to battle obesity and we embrace their initiative to make weight loss programs widely available to health plan members. Ultimately, employers can and should play a role in combating obesity and will welcome the development of accessible, affordable and evidence-based weight management solutions.”
Weight Watchers is now offered to all Humana members insured through qualified employer-based health plans. Members with weight loss goals will be actively connected to Weight Watchers through Humana’s disease management programs, health coaches, personal nurses, customer service and HumanaVitality.
Humana participants can chose Weight Watchers OnlinePlus to follow the plan entirely online with new 24/7 Expert Chat real-time support and access to all the digital tools and apps; or they can choose Weight Watchers Meetings for face-to-face support from a Coach who has lost weight with Weight Watchers and exchange experiences with a group of like-minded peers, along with 24/7 Expert Chat and digital tools and apps.
About Humana Inc.
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health and well-being company focused on making it easy for people to achieve their best health with clinical excellence through coordinated care. The company’s strategy integrates care delivery, the member experience, and clinical and consumer insights to encourage engagement, behavior change, proactive clinical outreach and wellness for the millions of people we serve across the country.
More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s web site at www.humana.com, including copies of:
- Annual reports to stockholders;
- Securities and Exchange Commission filings;
- Most recent investor conference presentations;
- Quarterly earnings news releases;
- Replays of most recent earnings release conference calls;
- Calendar of events (including upcoming earnings conference call dates and times, as well as planned interaction with research analysts and institutional investors); and
- Corporate Governance information.
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. Weight Watchers provides innovative, digital weight management products through its websites, mobile sites and apps. Weight Watchers is the leading provider of digital weight management 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.
1 Andreyeva, Tatiana PhD; Luedicke, Joerg MS; Wang, Y. Claire PhD (November 2014). State-Level Estimates of Obesity-Attributable Costs of Absenteeism. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Volume 56 - Issue 11, 1120–1127. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/joem/Abstract/2014/11000/State_Level_Estimates_of_Obesity_Attributable.2.aspx
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, May 26). Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/AAG/obesity.htm