AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The State of Texas is taking bold steps to tackle obesity and diabetes to improve the health of its workforce by offering an innovative, weight-loss program called Real Appeal to current and former state employees.
Real Appeal is offered at no additional cost to the state or its employees through HealthSelect of Texas®, the health benefit plan administered by UnitedHealthcare.
The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) has made the program available to its nearly 410,000 state employees, retirees and their covered family members, and expects Real Appeal to deliver meaningful results and savings for both participants and taxpayers.
Real Appeal is a personalized, interactive, online weight-loss program that uses personal coaches and a Hollywood cast to help motivate participants to get active and healthy, and lose weight. Designed to help solve America’s obesity and diabetes epidemic, Real Appeal is a weight-loss program that gives people tools and resources to help them succeed in their weight-loss journey. To see Real Appeal in action, click here.
“We have the opportunity to make a real impact on the obesity and diabetes epidemic that is taking a significant toll on the health and financial resources of the state workforce, and at the same time, deliver savings to taxpayers and participants in the state health plan,” said Porter Wilson, executive director of ERS. “By partnering with UnitedHealthcare to offer Real Appeal, we are helping our employees and their families slim down and get healthier.”
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are on the rise in Texas. Nearly 32 percent of adult Texans are obese, and nearly one in 10 have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to America’s Health Rankings. Diabetes costs the state an estimated $18.5 million a year, according to a recent Texas Health and Human Services Commission report.
“UnitedHealthcare is partnering with ERS of Texas to find new ways to meet state employees’ health care needs and help them stay on the path to better health,” said Tom Quirk, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Texas. “We are pleased to work with ERS to make Real Appeal available to Health Select participants at no additional cost.”
Real Appeal’s positive message of life-changing weight loss and better health is driving high enrollment, participation and weight loss rates among its enrollees nationwide. More than 100,000 participants have registered in Real Appeal since launching last year. Of those who completed the program, 82 percent lost weight; the average number of pounds lost per person is 10, and 38 percent have had clinically relevant weight loss (5 percent or more), putting them on a path to reduce their risk for weight-related health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Real Appeal is unique in that it takes a fresh and innovative approach to success where traditional wellness and disease-management programs have failed.
How Real Appeal Works
Real Appeal provides numerous tools and resources people need to succeed, including technology to deliver real human interaction, education and engagement. The program offers an interactive weekly online television series and group discussion, followed up with live personal coaching. Coaches are available on-demand for one-on-one consultation and support, making it convenient and easy to participate.
Real Appeal’s weekly Internet show is based on evidence-based, scientific research combined with award-winning writers and on-screen talent. In addition to the live coaching sessions, the interactive program includes digital tools for mobile devices and web-based access, and a weight-loss kit with exercise DVDs, interactive scale, pedometer, blender, calorie and weight-loss trackers, fitness guides, literature and more.
The approach supports individuals taking small steps and celebrating “wins” along the way, week-by-week over a full year, that add up to big results that are sustainable in the long run and can prevent weight-related health conditions – such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease – down the line.
Texas is among the first states to offer Real Appeal to its employees through their health plan. Other large customers include UnitedHealth Group, 1-800 Flowers, the State of Colorado, the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida and others.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.