Weight Watchers for business: What former executive knows about corporate wellness

Original article from http://www.bizjournals.com

By Brianne Pfannenstiel

Romy Carlson knows as well as anyone that getting corporate America on board with office weight loss programs is almost as challenging as actually losing weight.

The former Weight Watchers executive just signed on with corporate wellness company Retrofit as vice president of business development.

She’ll be based here in Kansas City and will oversee the development and acquisition of new business. With about 17 years of experience in the field of corporate wellness, she said she knows that getting busy executives to commit to office weight loss or wellness programs comes with a unique set of challenges.

“It’s an interesting arena because at first you would think that maybe people are just scared of it, maybe executives are nervous because they don’t necessarily manage their own health so how do they push it out to their employees?” Carlson said.

Male CEOs are actually more likely to be overweight than men within the general population, according to one study from Michigan State University.

The study showed that between 45 and 61 percent of top male CEOs are overweight, and between 5 and 22 percent of top female CEOs are overweight.

“So far there really hasn’t been a great technology-based program that serves the busy professional,” Carlson said.

That’s one reason she got on board at Retrofit — it’s Weight Watchers, in a sense, tailored specifically for professionals in the workplace.

Companies sign up to partner with Retrofit and can subsidize membership fees for its employees. Retrofit then sends each participant a wireless activity tracker and a wireless scale, both of which automatically upload the data to a team of Retrofit professionals who meet individually with the employees to discuss personalized wellness programs.

 

 

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