I just returned from the 10th Annual Executive Forum on Rewarding Healthy Behaviors. There were many outstanding presentations and very impressive thought leaders at the conference. The presentation by Kayla Harris, MS, Kaiser Permanente/Colorado, and Lia Schoepke, MBA-HA, Weigh and Win: Wellness 2.0: A Scalable and Affordable Model for Communities and Employers, is the focus of this blog post.
As you may know, obesity is correlated with heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and other medical problems – both acute and chronic. Colorado has the lowest obesity rates in the country (now at 20.5%) which is almost double what it was in the early 1990’s. In this case being number one is humbling given the performance record of a 100% increase in obesity. The factors implicated in our obesity rate include: increased processed meals, increase in processed foods, increase in sugar products in many of our processed foods and drink, reduction in plant based food regimens, increased animal protein consumption, decreased exercise, social network data of your “friends friends make you fat,” and the list goes on.
The Weigh and Win program is free to Coloradans 18 and older. It includes state of the art kiosks located throughout Colorado. These HIPAA compliant kiosks weigh the person, take a picture and provide side by side comparisons from the last picture, archive data on weight loss, show goal progress, and optimize basic gamification principles. In addition, employers can sign up for the program and the kiosks can be used on-site by their employees. The program utilizes cash incentives, health coaches, phone apps, and integration with social media and other platforms, and makes no dietary recommendations except to follow the federal guidelines for nutrition.
The community performance and individual performance is compelling. Over 124,000 pounds have been lost, plus 44,000 people have participated, and many individuals have lost over 100 plus pounds.
From a psychology of performance standpoint, the data speak for themselves. From a research standpoint, many questions come to mind regarding participants’ beliefs, behaviors, the role of incentives, long term maintenance of weight loss after the first year, what the characteristics were of those who succeeded versus dropped out, co-morbid conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, and if these conditions improved, plus numerous other questions.
My heartfelt congratulations to Kaiser Permanente and Weigh and Win for creating such an innovative and scalable community intervention!
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Extend love and happiness to all those you meet!
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist