Weight Watchers for business: What former executive knows about corporate wellness

Original article from http://www.bizjournals.com

By Brianne Pfannenstiel

Romy Carlson knows as well as anyone that getting corporate America on board with office weight loss programs is almost as challenging as actually losing weight.

The former Weight Watchers executive just signed on with corporate wellness company Retrofit as vice president of business development.

She'll be based here in Kansas City and will oversee the development and acquisition of new business. With about 17 years of experience in the field of corporate wellness, she said she knows that getting busy executives to commit to office weight loss or wellness programs comes with a unique set of challenges.

"It's an interesting arena because at first you would think that maybe people are just scared of it, maybe executives are nervous because they don't necessarily manage their own health so how do they push it out to their employees?" Carlson said.

Male CEOs are actually more likely to be overweight than men within the general population, according to one study from Michigan State University.

The study showed that between 45 and 61 percent of top male CEOs are overweight, and between 5 and 22 percent of top female CEOs are overweight.

"So far there really hasn't been a great technology-based program that serves the busy professional," Carlson said.

That's one reason she got on board at Retrofit — it's Weight Watchers, in a sense, tailored specifically for professionals in the workplace.

Companies sign up to partner with Retrofit and can subsidize membership fees for its employees. Retrofit then sends each participant a wireless activity tracker and a wireless scale, both of which automatically upload the data to a team of Retrofit professionals who meet individually with the employees to discuss personalized wellness programs.

 


Weight Loss Is Employees’ Top New Year’s Resolution

Source: http://www.compsych.com 

Thirty-nine percent of employees say losing weight is their top health concern while 26 percent say stress has them most worried, according to a ComPsych Tell It Now poll released today. ComPsych is the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs and is the pioneer and leading provider of fully integrated EAP, behavioral health, wellness, work-life, HR and FMLA administration services under the GuidanceResources brand.

“Weight loss is, not surprisingly, the number one health concern this year,” said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, Chairman and CEO of ComPsych. “What is significant is that many more employees are aware of stress as a major contributor to health problems. Corporate wellness programs that address both physical and emotional health are uniquely suited to help employees make lasting lifestyle changes, which will ultimately reduce health and disability costs while improving productivity.”

Employees were asked:  Which health issue are you most trying to stay ahead of this year?

39 percent said “weight loss”
26 percent said “stress”
17 percent said “exercise”
9 percent said “diet improvement”
6 percent said “quitting smoking”
3 percent said “other”

ComPsych’s build-to-suit health and wellness program – HealthyGuidance® -- targets employee behavior and lifestyle issues before they become significant health risks. Drawing upon more than 25 years of behavioral health experience, HealthyGuidance uses a consultative, high-touch approach, empowering employees to make healthy lifestyle changes through expert guidance. The program offers:

• Comprehensive health risk assessments and screenings
• Live, telephonic wellness coaching with behavioral, health and nutrition experts
• Online health management tools including diet and exercise programs and incentive tracking
• Action-oriented wellness seminars, turn-key wellness challenges and award-winning communications
• Targeted programs such as tobacco cessation, weight management, stress reduction and more


Web Well

New research suggests that online tools can improve the outcome of a weight-loss campaign. A study by Brown University researchers found that Internet-based weight-loss sessions improved outcomes and helped participants keep the weight off afterward.