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117 Tons of Good News from Detroit

Successful HAP-Weight Watchers® partnership leads to major program expansion

DETROIT – February 2, 2010 – In an economically challenged region that is also home to one of America's "fattest cities," a nonprofit health plan is taking a major stand against obesity to give residents a chance at better health and quality of life. The results are staggering.

More than 25,000 Health Alliance Plan (HAP) members have lost a collective 235,556 pounds since HAP teamed up with Weight Watchers® to drastically reduce the cost of the program to per 12-week session. This 117-ton weight loss is equal to the combined weight of 50 white rhinos (the second largest land-living animal), 167 Ford Model Ts, or 40,000 gallons of ice cream.

To keep the momentum going, HAP has expanded the offer to an additional 20,000 individuals enrolled in PPO, EPO, EPA, SOLO plans for individuals and families, Medicare Complimentary and POS plans effective January 1, 2010. 

"HAP's partnership with Weight Watchers is more than a short-term offer or weight loss contest," said Mary Beth Bolton, MD, FACP, HAP's Chief Health Officer. "Our data indicate that this long-term solution is making a substantial difference in the health of southeast Michiganders."

HAP's one-year study of 9,243 Weight Watchers® members revealed that a significant percentage of members maintained their weight and improved the following clinical measures that will likely lead to better clinical outcomes and quality of life:

  • 21% increase in controlled blood glucose (HbA1c) in people with diabetes
  • 13 to 27% improvement in total cholesterol among participants with 6-20% weight loss
  • 5% reduction in ER visits
  • 42% reduction in cardiovascular inpatient admissions
  • 23% reduction in respiratory inpatient admissions
  • 14% reduction in use of three or more blood pressure medications

"What has been accomplished through this partnership is remarkable. It really has placed a spotlight on how adoption of a healthy lifestyle can not only change the number on the scale, but revitalize your life and save you money," said Florine Mark, president and chief executive officer, Weight Watchers Group. 

HAP will continue to offer the program to HAP HMO, POS, MPSERS (Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System), Casino (MGM, Motor City, Greek Town), Medicare Complimentary HMO plan members and Ford Motor Company retiree plan members. To enroll, visit, log in with Online Services then link to HAP Advantage Discounts or call toll-free (888) 3-FLORINE.

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