NEW YORK, Jan. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Weight Watchers International, Inc. today announced two innovative partnerships with American Express (NYSE: AXP) and with NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX) to help employees lose weight and lead healthier lives.
American Express, a corporate leader in promoting healthier lifestyles for employees, plans to expand their Weight Watchers offerings for its existing portfolio of wellness initiatives and services. American Express has agreed to pay 100 percent of the cost to its employees for up to one year for Weight Watchers meetings with Monthly Pass or Weight Watchers Online. American Express will also cover 50 percent of the cost of these offerings for spouses and domestic partners of employees who are covered under the American Express medical plan.
NYSE Euronext plans to include Weight Watchers offerings as part of its "Empowering Wellness" program and will pay half the costs to its employees for access to Weight Watchers meetings with Monthly Pass or Weight Watchers Online.
"We are pleased to partner with Weight Watchers International, a global leader in weight management services, to provide innovative personal wellness tools and resources to our employees," said Ed Hutner, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, NYSE Euronext. "Weight Watchers and NYSE Euronext share a commitment to help individuals achieve their wellness goals and healthier lifestyles. Our people benefit, and so does our business."
"We are growing our partnership with Weight Watchers because we believe it is one of the best weight management programs available," said David Kasiarz, Senior Vice President, Global Compensation and Benefits at American Express. "Weight Watchers offers a scientifically proven way to lose weight that is also cost-effective and sustainable. This is vital because we have seen first-hand how improvements in weight-related health can lower healthcare costs and absenteeism, and increase productivity."
Earlier this year, the National Business Group on Health gave American Express the Global Distinction Award for efforts to improve employee health and for the past three years it has honored American Express with the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award.
This concept is already drawing praise from key business groups. "It's these kind of initiatives from world-class companies like American Express, NYSE Euronext and Weight Watchers that we hope will encourage other corporations to follow suit," said Helen Darling, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, which has promoted worksite wellness for 35 years. "The on-going obesity epidemic needs more creative solutions, such as these, to counteract weight-related health consequences and soaring healthcare costs. We hope that these partnerships will be a new model for other employers of all sizes to use."
Through these two initiatives, American Express and NYSE Euronext will provide Weight Watchers offerings to a broad variety of employees with varying work schedules. Employees will have the flexibility to follow the renowned PointsPlus® program by attending meetings at work, in the community or to follow the plan online with a subscription to Weight Watchers Online, which is customized for men and women.
To help the growing number of corporations, insurance companies and government entities that seek to improve the health of their employees and members, Weight Watchers Health Solutions provides Weight Watchers offerings including on-site workplace meetings with Monthly Pass and Weight Watchers Online. This can help employers to lower overall healthcare costs, improve worker productivity and lower absenteeism rates. Weight Watchers Health Solutions also provides helpful tools to its customers such as incentives alignment, employee communication and data analysis.
Also, as healthcare costs soar, employers are looking for innovative ways to rein in expenses. A recent report by the Conference Board notes that employers who invest in wellness programs to help with weight control, exercise, smoking cessation and stress reduction can generate an average return on investment (ROI) of 500 percent (1).
"Employers large and small which provide coverage for many Americans for healthcare must look for new solutions to control rising healthcare costs," said David Burwick, President, North America, Weight Watchers. "Research shows that the costs of treating expensive weight related chronic illnesses such as diabetes can be reduced significantly by tackling these issues early on through the education and behavior modification that we offer."
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.
(1) Weights & Measures: What Employers Should Know about Obesity -- Key Findings, 2008, The Conference Board, May 2008.
SOURCE Weight Watchers International, Inc.