UnitedHealthcare to Expand Use of Real Appeal Weight-Loss Program

October 05, 2016
  • More than 4 out of 5 participants who completed Real Appeal have lost weight
  • The first health plan to provide Real Appeal to customers across the United States
  • Proven weight-loss program available at no additional cost to employees as part of their UnitedHealthcare benefits plan

More than 2.4 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored health plans will have access to Real Appeal, a personalized, interactive online weight-loss program that uses personal coaches and an Internet TV show to motivate people to lose weight, and get active and healthy.

Real Appeal helps people reduce their risk for weight-related health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Recent results show that 82 percent of people who completed the program lost weight; 38 percent achieved clinically relevant weight loss (5 percent or more).

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, UnitedHealthcare plan participants who enroll in Real Appeal will be able to view an online TV show featuring a Hollywood cast; participate in live, face-to-face video conferencing and interactive messaging; receive appointment scheduling, alerts and reminders; and track their goals – all from the convenience of a mobile phone, tablet or computer. To see Real Appeal in action, click here.

UnitedHealthcare is the first health plan to offer Real Appeal to fully insured customers with more than 100 employees across the United States, and the program is available at no additional cost to employees as part of their UnitedHealthcare benefits plan.

"Real Appeal creates an environment that keeps people intrigued, and works to ensure their healthier behaviors stick for a lifetime," said Jeff Alter, CEO of UnitedHealthcare's Commercial Group business. "We are thrilled to offer Real Appeal to our employer customers across the country to promote weight loss and help millions of people get on the road to better health."

Designed to help solve America's obesity and diabetes epidemic, Real Appeal gives people tools and resources to help them succeed in their weight-loss journey. Since its launch last year, Real Appeal has helped people achieve weight loss and reduce their risk for diabetes and other obesity-related conditions.

Real Appeal is built on the findings of extensive clinical research on diabetes prevention and obesity that included more than 10,000 participants and $700 million in funding over 15 years. The goal of Real Appeal is to reduce the possibility of significant obesity-related health issues and deliver medical cost-savings.

"Weight-related health issues have reached an epidemic level and are taking a significant toll on our country's health and financial resources," said Sam Ho, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare. "We are encouraged by the value Real Appeal has demonstrated by enabling people to lose weight, make better choices and live healthier lives."

More than 100,000 participants have registered in Real Appeal since launching last year. Of those who completed the program: 82 percent lost weight; the average number of pounds lost per person is 10; and 38 percent have had clinically relevant weight loss (5 percent or more), putting them on a path to reduce their risk for weight-related health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. To hear Real Appeal participants' success stories, click here.

UnitedHealthcare's parent company, UnitedHealth Group, was among the first large employers to offer Real Appeal to U.S.-based employees. Other large customers – including 1-800 Flowers, the State of Colorado, the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida – are making Real Appeal available to their employees and are already seeing positive results.

"Real Appeal is a win-win. It helps our employees improve their health and often results in meaningful weight loss," said Dianne Howard, director of Risk and Benefits Management, The School District of Palm Beach County. "Losing weight helps reduce the risk for diabetes and other diseases associated with obesity, which in turn helps reduce health care costs. Our employees are responding positively, and we're pleased to see strong results that we believe will continue to make a difference."

Porter Wilson, executive director, Employees Retirement System of Texas, said: "We have the opportunity to make a real impact on the obesity and diabetes epidemic that is taking a significant toll on the health and financial resources of the state workforce, and at the same time, deliver savings to taxpayers and state health plan participants. By working with UnitedHealthcare to offer Real Appeal, we are helping our employees and their families slim down and get healthier."

Real Appeal's message of small changes for lasting weight loss and better health helps drive participation and weight-loss rates among its enrollees. Participant satisfaction with Real Appeal among initial enrollees is 4.84 out of a possible score of 5, with 5 being an "amazing" experience.

About UnitedHealthcare

nitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @myUHC on Twitter.