Computerized kiosks encourage weight loss
KUSA – Inside the Goodson Recreation Center, Mary Kay Smith admits she’s been struggling to stay healthy lately.
“I’ve been out of sync for a while and kinda off and on for the past year or so and gained a little bit of weight,” Smith said.
Now she’s found a new motivation tool: a kiosk in the corner of her rec. center, and Smith can even get paid to lose weight.
Behind a couple privacy walls, Smith logs into a computer, then steps on a scale. The computer shows her current weight and whether she’s gained or lost weight since the last time she logged in.
Smith also receives daily emails with nutrition, cooking, exercise and weight loss tips from her virtual personal trainer.
“I’ve been looking for an incentive to get back into my exercise and diet routine, and that’s what I needed,” Smith said.
The kiosk is one of several around the Denver Metro area and part of the Weigh and Win campaign.
While the program is supported by Kaiser Permanente Colorado, it’s open to the public, and users don’t have to be Kaiser members.
“We know that only 25% of Coloradoans eat the fruits and vegetables they need to have a nutrient rich diet,” Sandra Stenmark with Kaiser Permanente Colorado said. “Only 50% are physically active, and only 50% are at a healthy weight.”
As another motivation tool, the program will pay users to lose weight with debit cards.
“It’s a progressive scale,” incentaHEALTH Chief Technology Officer Todd McGuire said. “So, if I lost 5% of my body weight, I’d earn $5 a month, but it’s paid quarterly, so I’d get a $15 credit. If I lost 10%, I’d earn $10 a month, so I’d get a 30 dollar credit.”
Users who lose more weight and maintain their weight loss will get larger payments.
McGuire says private businesses have been using the kiosks for more than a year to encourage healthier employees and gain lower health insurance costs.
McGuire says almost half the people who step on the scale will stick with the program for a year, and those people will lose an average of 12 pounds.
The funding comes from Kaiser’s community benefit program, but organizers are hoping the Weigh and Win campaign will become self supporting through advertising. They’re planning to add dozens of kiosks across Colorado.
For more information and to find a location near you, visit: http://www.weighandwin.com.
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