Helping employees reach (and maintain) their weight loss goals
By Amy Confare and Natasha Malesevich
It’s estimated that one-third or more of adults today are struggling with obesity. Obesity and related health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension are responsible for a large portion of healthcare spending.
It’s well documented that weight reduction can reduce medical risk factors by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose and reduce the need for medications to treat these risk factors. However, losing weight is only half the battle — maintaining that loss over time is the other half.
As a health care leader, seven years ago Aurora Health Care began collaborating with an organization called Health Management Resources (HMR) to help its employees and patients lose weight, maintain their weight loss and improve their health through a safe, supervised program.
In fact, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the HMR program as one of the best “Weight Loss Diets.” This ranking was based on both short and long-term weight-loss ratings. HMR ranked #1(tie) in the “Fast Weight Loss” category.
HMR’s programs have helped more than one million dieters by following weight loss recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Task Force:
• Individual or group sessions
• Setting weight-loss goals
• Improving diet and nutrition
• Increasing physical activity
• Addressing any barriers to change
• Promoting strategies to maintain lifestyle changes1
HMR’s plans combine structured diets, increased physical activity, and lifestyle-change coaching. HMR plans are designed to keep people motivated. They help them lose weight quickly, while acquiring skills needed to keep the weight off.
How do HMR plans work?
HMR offers several diet programs appropriate for anyone wanting to lose 10-200 or more pounds. All diet options use HMR-supplied foods (weight-loss shakes, entrees, soup, multigrain hot cereal, and nutrition bars) to reduce food choice decision and maximize weight loss.
Evidence-based, data driven
HMR’s programs are evidence-based and data driven. These comprehensive programs are more than “just another diet” — they are lifestyle modification programs. Participants are closely monitored, coached and find long-term success through:
• Calorie-controlled meal replacements
• Increased physical activity
• Eating more fruits and vegetables
Increasing fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in calories, helps displace higher-calorie foods from the diet. By adding vegetables and fruits to HMR meal replacements, participants enjoy filling, nutritious meals while losing weight.
Once participants reach their goal weight, they transition into the maintenance phase and begin preparing their own meals and snacks, using the nutritional knowledge acquired through the program.
HMR offers three program options:
• An “in-clinic” program with face-to-face group sessions and medical supervision available,
• An “at-home” program with weekly telephonic group sessions,
• A self-directed program
Aurora offers medical management for those enrolled in the clinic-based option, at four locations:
• West Bend
To date, more than 2,000 Aurora employees and patients have participated in HMR’s clinically proven programs, showing impressive and long-lasting results.
Physical activity is key
Daily physical activity is important for both weight management and health improvement. Physical activity can decrease the risk for several diseases, elevate metabolic rate, and improve a person’s mental outlook. Regular physical activity is associated with having less abdominal fat. This is important since abdominal fat is considered a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, coronary heat disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and some cancers. 2
Accountability and coaching matter
HMR’s structured programs offer weekly classes with individual coaching. Participants learn specific strategies of weight loss, including ways to lower fat and calories and tips to add physical activity and more fruits and vegetables into their daily routine and diet. Participants maintain eating and activity records, using their own data to create weekly goals, which they share with their health educator.
HMR at Home®
Anyone can sign up for a HMR program. An at-home program is available that includes home delivery of HMR diet foods and program support materials. This program is available either with or without additional phone support.
Improving health, reducing health care costs
Aurora’s newest data shows that HMR participants are keeping their weight off and improving their health. One group of “in-clinic” participants has been followed for a five-year period (2010-2015). Their average initial weight loss was 53 lbs. Data shows these patients are keeping off a total of 20.5% of their original weight.
These same participants showed significant improvements in:
• Total cholesterol and triglycerides,
• Fasting glucose levels (especially important for pre-diabetic patients)
• Blood pressure
Many of these patients have now reduced or eliminated the need for high blood pressure or high cholesterol medications.
Everyone agrees there’s no “magic bullet” when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. Any diet may help a person lose weight initially, but people who change their lifestyle through behavioral modification strategies have the best chance of maintaining significant weight loss over time.
Amy S. Confare is Aurora’s Strategic Operations Director, Transformation Team; Natasha Malesevich, MHA, is Aurora’s Senior Project Manager, Strategic Operations – Transformation Team. For more information, please visit AuroraEmployerSolutions.org
1. Moyer VA. Screening for and Management of Obesity in Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2012; 157; 373–378
2. (n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2017, from http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/063008p50.shtml