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Retrofit Group Launches Online Meetings for Weight Loss at Work, Disrupts Traditional Corporate Weight Loss Programs

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 02, 2014

Retrofit CEO Jeff Hyman announces today that the expert-led, data-driven weight loss company has redefined corporate weight loss programs with its latest offering, Retrofit Group?. The new Retrofit corporate program delivers online weight loss meetings, quantifiable health benefits and a scalable weight loss solution to corporations nationwide.

The award-winning weight loss company is launching Retrofit Group in partnership with such organizations as Google, and the American Medical Association (AMA).

“Employers are familiar with group-based programs offered by other weight loss companies, but their employees can be too busy, far-flung, or embarrassed to attend in person,” said Hyman. “The weight loss category is ripe for innovation. Retrofit Group leverages our technology, protocol, and innovative brand positioning to provide employers with a choice. We see a unique opportunity to deliver remarkable weight loss outcomes for employers through small online group meetings.”

Cambia Health Solutions Senior Vice President Rob Coppedge, in charge of strategic investments at the health firm, said Retrofit’s “engagement rates and outcomes” with end users impressed him during his search to invest in a corporate weight loss program. Cambia Health Solutions recently led the Series B in financing for Retrofit, along with former investors DFJ, bringing the total investment in the weight loss company to $15.7 million.

Coppedge recently told the Wall Street Journal that he believes the Retrofit program should appeal to a much broader group of employers due to its remarkable weight loss outcomes.

Today, more than 90% of Retrofit clients are losing weight by making sustainable lifestyle changes through the use of wireless technology and online videoconferences from weight loss advisors. In fact, Retrofit clients who complete a 12-month weight loss program lose an average of 19.1 pounds, or 8.3% of their starting body weight. However, to meet the ever-changing needs of busy professionals, Hyman believes that adding Group to the existing portfolio of Retrofit weight loss programs is an important next step.

“We are at a tipping point, where having healthy employees is a strategic advantage,” said Hyman, adding that overweight or obese employees cost an employer nearly $1,500 a year in additional healthcare costs.

In addition, a recent Harvard University study proved that for every dollar invested in corporate wellness, employee medical costs fall about $3.27 and absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73. Companies can save an average of $6.00 for every $1.00 spent on corporate wellness programs.

Retrofit Group is the first of its kind to offer weekly vidoeconference group sessions and online small group support. Most other weight loss at work programs require employees to participate in weekly in-person meetings.

Retrofit brings its unique corporate weight loss program conveniently and virtually to employees via videoconferencing. This new high-tech model for weight loss at work will bring more results-driven options to consumers, who currently lack solutions for combating obesity and increasing productivity in the workplace.

“There is safety in numbers. Research shows that people lose more weight when supported by employers, colleagues, family, and friends,” said Hyman. “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that it is simply easier to lose weight at work. Retrofit Group provides anywhere, anytime support, which is what busy professionals need, especially while sitting behind a desk all day.”

Retrofit Group clients meet weekly via online videoconference to learn personal strategies for losing weight. Group sessions target healthy lifestyle changes in the areas of nutrition, fitness and mindset. Clients also stay in touch on a personalized interactive dashboard. Between sessions, clients track their progress, receive feedback from a highly trained weight loss advisor, and collaborate with their peers.

Retrofit Group has three core components:

1. Online Weekly Meetings - Meetings are offered seven days a week and multiple times each day. They cover the same topic each week to ensure flexibility in accommodating each client’s schedule.

2. Online Group Collaboration - Designed to foster discussion, Retrofit Group clients communicate via a private online platform. This allows them to discuss weekly topics, share resources, ask questions, and encourage each other throughout the process. This forum enables 24/7 access to fellow participants and a Group Advisor.

3. Online Dashboard - Clients access a personal dashboard for private food logging, activity tracking and communication with their Group Advisor. Clients receive unlimited access to their Group Advisor for private conversations and personal support. The Retrofit timeline enables accountability and feedback for clients who track their data.

“Tackling obesity in the workplace requires a holistic approach that includes support in the areas of mindset, nutrition, and exercise. Successful outcomes for weight loss come from changes to the corporate culture that include well-designed workplaces that encourage activity, leaders who model healthy behavior, and health plans covering a wide range of treatments,” said Dr. Robert Kushner, MD, Retrofit Advisory Board Member and Director of Northwestern University’s Comprehensive Center on Obesity.

Over the past year, Retrofit corporate client VISTA Staffing Solutions, based in Salt Lake City, lost almost 800 pounds collectively with close to 60 employees on the program. Research shows that they saved nearly $40,000 in healthcare costs. Executives report the staff is “happier and more productive.”

Clarke Shaw, Executive Vice President of VISTA says, “The Retrofit program has created a new vernacular at VISTA. I hear people talking about how many steps they have for the day and how their BMI is trending. We see people eating better and in better portions. People are using our gym and more are taking classes like yoga in our facility during their break time. This likely is leading to better concentration and people generally feeling better about themselves.”

Shaw adds, “Self confidence is a key ingredient in having an engaged, hard working employee – I see that people have more energy and they are applying it to their work at VISTA.”

According to the American Heart Association, the total excess costs related to obesity in the U.S. for 2013 is estimated to be $254 billion in lost productivity and direct medical costs. In addition, if obesity levels continue to rise, total healthcare costs attributable to obesity will reach between $861 billion and $957 billion by 2030.

“Retrofit Group fills a void in the weight loss market,” said Hyman. “The success of Retrofit has proven that real behavior change is derived from regular, expert-led, community-supported behavior change. This sustainable change doesn't just happen one hour per week in a meeting room. It happens all day every day by changing one habit at a time.”

About Retrofit

Retrofit, the expert-led, data-driven weight loss program for busy professionals, is designed to deliver lasting results. Its innovative program for both individuals and corporations includes wireless monitoring of a client’s weight, activity and sleep, as well as access to wellness coaches consisting of registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, and behavior coaches. Retrofit has raised $15.7 million in venture financing led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Cambia Health Solutions. Retrofit can be found on the Web at and by calling 855-4-RETROFIT. Follow the company on Facebook and Twitter at @retrofitme.

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