NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the latest addition to the City of Newark's Let's Move! Newark campaign to combat obesity, Newark and Weight Watchers North America, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW), today announced a new initiative that will offer discounted Weight Watchers memberships to City of Newark employees.
The announcement, made at Newark City Hall by Mayor Cory A. Booker along with David Kirchhoff, Chief Executive Officer, Weight Watchers International, Inc., underscores Newark's commitment to offering innovative opportunities for City employees to improve their health and well-being. The effort is an example of Weight Watchers' resolve to form unique relationships with like-minded cities that want to promote healthy lifestyles and work to tackle obesity with community-based solutions. Mayor Booker and Kirchhoff were joined by the Newark Municipal Council, Newark Food Policy Director and Co-Chair of Let's Move! Newark Elizabeth Reynoso, the Let's Move! Newark Council, and Weight Watchers Leader and Newark resident Ruby Anderson.
The clinically-proven Weight Watchers approach helps members build a healthy lifestyle to lose weight successfully and learn to keep it off. Through the Weight Watchers offering, beginning immediately, more than 3,100 employees in Newark city agencies will have the opportunity to attend Weight Watchers meetings at work and in their communities with Monthly Pass at a discounted rate for up to one year. Monthly Pass offers members unlimited meetings each month as well as free access to eTools, the Weight Watchers Internet weight loss companion.
"Large cities like Newark and their leaders have an important role to play in turning back the rising tide of obesity in this country," said Newark Mayor Cory Booker. "We have an example to set – an example of a thriving community that promotes healthy lifestyles. As Mayor of New Jersey's largest city, I am very conscious of the need to control rising healthcare costs and to have a healthy, productive workforce. Working with Weight Watchers offers City of Newark employees the support to make their personal health goals a reality. Through participation in this initiative, we believe that our employees' health will benefit and so will our city."Newark is not only the largest city in the state of New Jersey; it also has a higher obesity rate, at 26 percent, than the state as a whole. 1 State-wide nearly 24 percent of adults are classified as obese. 2 Rates of weight-related conditions, including type 2 diabetes, are increasing dramatically among city residents. 3 To turn the tide against these health issues, city officials are working to implement innovative initiatives that encourage healthy lifestyles in workplaces and the community. "More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese 4 and obesity-related illnesses – such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease – are not only chronic and serious 5, but also come with steep healthcare costs 6," said Weight Watchers CEO David Kirchhoff. "It's time to reverse the obesity epidemic and create a healthier workforce. Weight Watchers is helping to do both through its scalable, accessible, and clinically-proven weight loss approach. Weight Watchers already works with several thriving Newark-area employers, and we're delighted to have the opportunity to offer our evidence-based weight loss approach to City of Newark employees. Along with everything Mayor Booker and his team are doing with Let's Move! Newark , we can make a real difference by supporting Newark city employees as they strive to be healthier and more active." As part of Weight Watchers' ongoing commitment to combating obesity with community-based solutions, in January, the New York-headquartered company announced an initiative with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to foster healthy lifestyles in communities, especially low-income areas that tend to have higher obesity rates and increased risks for obesity 7. Unveiled at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 81 st Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., the Healthy Communities Grant Program is a pilot initiative designed to help three cities, with existing healthy lifestyle programs, build upon their successful strategies for healthy eating, physical activity, and weight loss and management. To learn more about this initiative visit: http://usmayors.org/weightwatchers/. About Weight Watchers International, Inc. Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world's leading provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds over 45,000 meetings each week where members receive group support and learn about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and physical activity. WeightWatchers.com provides innovative, subscription weight management products over the Internet and is the leading Internet-based weight management provider in the world. In addition, Weight Watchers offers a wide range of products, publications and programs for those interested in weight loss and weight control. About the City of Newark, New Jersey Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation's largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast. For the past six years under the Booker Administration, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, and businesses are returning. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation. For more information on the City of Newark, please visit Newark's website at www.ci.newark.nj.us or follow the city on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cityofnewarknj. 1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009. 2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011. 3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2004-2009. 4 Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity in the United States, 2009–2010. NCHS data brief, no 82.Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012. 5 NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf [PDF-1.25Mb] 6Finkelstein, EA, Trogdon, JG, Cohen, JW, and Dietz, W. Annual medical spending attributable to obesity: Payer- and service-specific estimates. Health Affairs 2009; 28(5): w822-w831. 7 Kim, D. & Leigh, J. P. (2010). Estimating the effects of wages on obesity. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52(5), 495-500.