Weight Watchers adds diabetes-specific program for employers

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 19, 2014        

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eToolsWeight Watchers announced a new weight loss program for people with type 2 diabetes, which it will provide through its employee wellness offering.

The new program, called Weight Watchers for Diabetes, will incorporate the expertise of Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE) into the company’s existing weight loss and weight management system. Weight Watchers will also offer digital tools to members of Weight Watchers for Diabetes through eTools, a suite of tools available online and on mobile devices to all Weight Watchers members.

While the new program marks Weight Watchers first foray into specifically helping people with diabetes, it has provided tips in the past for how those members might get the most out of their weight loss program. Some of these tips include keeping total carbohydrate intake consistent every day, drinking alcohol and eating sugary foods as part of a meal and in moderation, and increasing physical activity.

“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,” Weight Watchers for Diabetes Clinical Director Jan Veliko, RN, CDE said in a statement. “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.”

After employees join the program, they will be able to receive coaching from Weight Watchers CDEs over the phone or through email and create a personalized nutrition plan with the CDE that fits their needs.

So far, Orlando Health, a private health network in Florida, has signed on to offer employees Weight Watchers for Diabetes. Orlando Health’s employees have had access to Weight Watchers program since January 2013.

In December 2013, Weight Watchers launched a weight loss plan and companion app, Simple Start, to bring new users into the program. The Simple Start program may have been an attempt to grow its userbase after the company saw a decline in its second quarter 2013 earnings, which it attributed in part to the “sudden explosion of interest in free apps and activity monitors”.