Newtopia: Successful Weight Loss During Covid-19 With Virtual Habit Change Provider
MedicalResearch.com interview with:
Jeff Ruby, JD, MBA, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Leonard Fensterheim, MPH
Vice President for Analytics
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background to this study? What are common weight change outcomes during the pandemic?
- Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of serious complications and the need for costly medical treatment, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Effective interventions to support weight loss and healthy habits development during the COVID-19 pandemic are important given the increasing restrictions imposed on healthy lifestyles.
- With gyms closed, everyday life completely disrupted, and stress increasing, many people have gained weight since the pandemic began.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40% of Americans were obese before the pandemic in the United States. (https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html)
- According to the American Psychological Association, 42% of US adults report unwanted weight gain with an average weight gain of 29 lbs. since the beginning of the pandemic. (https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2021/march-weight-change)
- The aim was to assess the impact of a guided habit change experience on weight loss during the COVID-19 pandemic (12 months).
- This was a retrospective study that looked at 1,436 participants who began taking the Newtopia Experience in early 2020.
- This analysis focused on weight change and was on participants with a body mass index>. limited
- The proportion of participants with a weight reduction of 4.3% after 12 months was assessed. This has been shown to be associated with a significant reduction in healthcare costs.
- Average weight loss and percent decrease in BMI were also assessed.
- 52% were female
- Mean age was 46.5 (± 10.6)
- 77% of the participants lost weight
- 44% of participants had a weight loss of> 3%
- The mean weight loss was 4.2% (p <0.0001)
- 22% of the overweight participants dropped a BMI category.
Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, individuals who participated in the Newtopia habit change experience still achieved effective weight loss.
MedicalResearch.com: How would you describe Newtopia’s technology-enabled virtual habit-changing experience?
Newtopia is a technology-driven habit change provider focused on preventing disease and reducing care costs for employers. As a holistic care provider, we promote mental health, resilience and general human performance while preventing, reversing and slowing the progression of chronic diseases. Newtopia uses genetics, medical history, motivation, social determinants of health, personal preferences, goals and mental health to create customized prevention experiences with a focus on type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and weight.
- Participants were given access to a technology-enabled virtual habit change experience.
- Each experience has been designed keeping in mind the health risks, genetics, medical history, motivation, social determinants of health, personal preferences, and goals of the participants.
- The participants met virtually one-on-one with their inspirer (health coach), who was assigned to them based on a personality matching algorithm. For a sustainable and meaningful change in behavior, Inspirators intervene in the daily decisions of their participants with regard to nutrition, exercise and well-being.
- In addition to the virtual coaching, they received an e-scale, an activity tracker and had access to an interactive app. The interactive app enabled attendees to record their goals and achievements, book and cancel coaching sessions, and access a library of recorded videos, learning tools, and recipes.
- When the pandemic started, Newtopia’s medical and clinical expert team developed new content focusing on the pandemic and the stay-at-home lifestyle.
- The prioritization of coaching shifted more to mental health and dealing with stress; the focus was more on preparing meals at home and making recommendations for activities at home. These changes allowed participants to stay engaged through the pandemic.
- We focus on building healthy habits to stay healthy for a lifetime.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main results of the study? What is the financial impact of the program?
The main finding of this study is that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, people who participated in the Newtopia Habit Change still achieved effective weight loss. One-on-one coaching for healthy habit change is effective in even the toughest of situations. Given the personalized nature of the experiences we offer, we can be agile when it comes to recommendations and adjustment goals.
Newtopia has a 2X ROI within one year as assessed and peer-reviewed in an Aetna-sponsored randomized controlled trial (RCT) published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The RCT showed a cost saving of $ 1,464 per participant in the first year by reducing medical and pharmaceutical expenses. For our customers, we use available data such as weight and biometric improvements as a proxy for savings when we do not have access to claims data.
MedicalResearch.com: Is long-term program follow-up recommended?
A change in habit leads to a lasting improvement in health. We continue to offer continuous coaching for participants throughout their lives with us. Dependence on inspirators decreases as they get used to setting goals and figuring out where to adjust their behavior. The Newtopia experience is not meant to be a quick fix. It’s a lifestyle improvement.
Weight Loss During the Covid-19 Pandemic Using a Virtual Habits Provider in an Employer Population
Newtopia presented these study results at the United Scientific Group’s 6th International Conference on Obesity and Chronic Diseases on June 22, 2021
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