Patients and Clinicians from Alabama, Minnesota and Arizona Rewarded for Dedication to Healthy Lifestyle Changes
FLORHAM PARK, N.J., June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nestle Health Science today announced the winners of the third annual OPTIFAST® "New You" weight loss contest. Three OPTIFAST patients, whose combined weight loss totals more than 410 pounds,* will have a memorable reward trip complete with makeovers and shopping sprees to celebrate their personal transformations towards a healthy lifestyle. In addition, two extraordinary OPTIFAST healthcare professionals will be recognized with the OPTIFAST Inspire Award for their passion and dedication to helping patients lose weight and maintain their healthier lifestyles.
"Given the rising prevalence of obesity in the U.S., it's truly inspiring to see how these individuals have successfully adopted the healthy lifestyle changes that are the foundation of the OPTIFAST Program," said Bill Kesting, director and general manager for the U.S. OPTIFAST business. "It is my hope that their extraordinary stories will encourage others to accomplish what often seems unachievable to so many."
With 68 percent of Americans overweight and more than one in three clinically obese, the OPTIFAST "New You" weight loss contest recognizes OPTIFAST patients who achieve their weight loss goals and the medical professionals who helped them get there.
The 2012 OPTIFAST "New You" contest patient winners are as follows. To view their before and after pictures, visit OPTIFAST.com
- James Newton, Fultondale, Alabama: At his heaviest James weighed 387 pounds and claimed that the only time you'd catch him running was if his "life depended on it." After 17 years of obesity, he realized his life did depend on making a very drastic change. Through the OPTIFAST Program, James lost more than 170 pounds, about 45 percent of his total body weight,* and says he now has the tools to keep the weight off. Today James runs 10-mile stretches and is training for a half marathon, something he never dreamed of just a little over a year ago. He says he's enjoying every minute of it – and his loyal dog and training partner, Dylan, has never been happier or healthier either.
- Michelle Williams, Elk River, Minnesota: A diagnosis of hypertension at the young age of 33 prompted Michelle to change her lifestyle to start her journey to better health. The OPTIFAST Program not only helped her to make healthier eating choices, but the Program's support, counseling and lifestyle education also helped her find true balance in life by identifying her triggers for unhealthy eating. As a nurse who shed 95 pounds,* Michelle is today better able to support her patients and co-workers with their own weight loss and fitness goals. Admitting that the changes were not easy at first, she says, "each day is a gift I truly intend to cherish – one I may not have had without the OPTIFAST Program and the support of my weight loss team."
- Shauna Connelly, Scottsdale, Arizona: Shauna once suffered from severe fibromyalgia and dreaded airplane seatbelts and stairs and had trouble doing the things she loves, like dancing. Shedding 84 pounds on the OPTIFAST Program has changed every facet of her life. Today Shauna is no longer secretly embarrassed by her weight and has seen health improvements along the way. She's stronger, both physically and emotionally, than she's ever been before and credits the individualized care and support she received from the OPTIFAST Program with her success – as well as the many awards she's acquired in local swing dance competitions.
The 2012 OPTIFAST Inspire Award recipients are as follows. To learn more about these healthcare professionals, visit OPTIFAST.com.
- Craig Primack, M.D., Scottsdale Weight Loss Center, Scottsdale, Arizona: For nine years Dr. Primack has helped changed the lives of thousands of patients. Recognized by Phoenix Magazine's "Top Doc" list for the past five years, Dr. Primack's patients often credit his professionalism, passion and dedication with helping them to achieve their weight loss goals and live healthier lives. While Dr. Primack plays a critical role in his patients' success, he insists they are the ones who inspire him every day.
- Robert Ziltzer, M.D., Scottsdale Weight Loss Center, Scottsdale, Arizona: Having struggled with weight issues himself, Dr. Ziltzer can easily identify with his patients' weight struggles. Early on he found the OPTIFAST Program to be a valuable medical tool far more powerful than the many "band-aid" treatments he's seen on the market. To him, the Program has not only helped change the lives of his many patients, but has created an opportunity for him to find true joy in his career.
"Recognizing the support that these standout medical professionals continually provide their patients gives me great pride," said Dr. Jamy Ard, medical director for the University of Alabama at Birmingham's EatRight Weight Management Services and medical director for OPTIFAST. "It is clear that Dr. Primack and Dr. Ziltzer play a crucial role in the lives of their patients and are committed to fostering an environment in which each patient can succeed."
OPTIFAST was developed in 1974 to fill the growing need to address obesity in a healthy, effective way. As diseases related to obesity became more prevalent, and more and more people began taking drastic measures to treat the problem, OPTIFAST was introduced as a sensible option for lifestyle transformation. The program combines support and counseling, lifestyle education, and medical monitoring with meal replacements to help people lose weight* which can in turn reduce weight-related health risks. A team of dedicated medical professionals provide support. The OPTIFAST Program is available in over 400 clinics nationwide. OPTIFAST is a business segment within Nestle Health Science. For more information, to see patient stories and to find a clinic, visit www.optifast.com.
About Nestle Health Science
Nestle Health Science offers nutritional solutions for people with specific dietary needs related to illnesses, disease states or the special challenges of different life stages. Nestle Health Science, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestle S.A., became operational on January 1, 2011, and has worldwide headquarters in Lutry, Switzerland. For more information, visit www.nestlehealthscience.us.
*The typical OPTIFAST patient loses over 50 pounds in 18-24 weeks. For many dieters, weight loss is only temporary. For more information, please visit www.optifast.com.
 Ogden CL, Carroll MD, McDowell MA, Flegal KM. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1960–1962 Through 2007–2008. National Center for Health Statistics. 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS/data/hestat/obesity_adult_07_08/obesity_adult_07_08.pdf
SOURCE Nestle Health Science