Weight Watchers International, Inc., the world’s leading provider of weight management services, and Merck, a global healthcare leader, announced today an innovative collaboration focused on fighting obesity. The two companies will launch an initiative in which Merck will provide physicians and other health care providers with educational information about the Weight Watchers® program and its underlying clinical evidence to assist doctors in addressing the ongoing weight management needs of their patients.
“Recently published research at the 2010 International Congress on Obesity demonstrated that the combination of the proven Weight Watchers behavior modification approach with physician’s encouragement provides a significant increase in patient adherence to weight-loss solutions and greater weight loss success than just standard physician care alone. Weight loss is an important component of preventing and addressing many health conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension. Because our weight management approach helps educate people on how to live a healthy lifestyle while allowing flexibility, the Weight Watchers program delivers real weight loss results. Collaborating with Merck will enable us to arm physicians with a comprehensive, sustainable, scalable and non-pharmaceutical solution for weight loss designed to help improve the overall health of their patients,” said David Kirchhoff, CEO of Weight Watchers International.
Beginning in January 2011, physicians and other health care providers in the North Central United States, where the initiative will be piloted, will receive educational materials to help them initiate more effective and efficient conversations about weight loss with their patients, increase awareness of obesity-related health risks and demonstrate how the Weight Watchers program may align with their goals to help patients attain and maintain a healthy weight.
“Our commitment to improving global health care goes beyond medicines and vaccines,” said Jay Galeota, senior vice president, Global Human Health, Strategy and Business Development, for Merck. “We hope this collaboration with Weight Watchers will enable us to provide physicians with a comprehensive solution they can offer their patients to help better manage weight.”
“Losing weight is a tremendous challenge for patients, yet it is so important for both preventing and controlling chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Mere advice from a doctor to lose weight without intensive assistance and resources is not effective. As a result many doctors feel powerless to help their patients because they have little to concretely offer,” said Alex Krist, MD, MPH, faculty member for the Virginia Commonwealth University Family Medicine Residency program at Fairfax Family Medicine Center. “We need to search for new ways that healthcare providers, as well as weight management resources, such as Weight Watchers, can effectively work together and help patients.”
With a track record of success that spans nearly 50 years, Weight Watchers is one of the most clinically-studied commercial weight loss programs, with more than 61 published trials and counting. It is among the most recognized and trusted commercial weight loss programs.
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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 almost 50,000 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. For more information, visit http://www.weightwatchers.com.
Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships that donate and deliver our products to the people who need them. For more information, visit http://www.merck.com.
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