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Startup’s weight-loss app gets CDC seal of approval

Jonathan LaMantia

Noom, a New York-based company whose app helps users lose weight, is the first program to achieve full recognition for diabetes prevention from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recognition follows a study published last year in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care that showed 64% of people who completed Noom’s diabetes-prevention program lost at least 5% of their body weight.

“It’s great to have the CDC put its seal of approval on our program,” said Artem Petakov, the company’s president and co-founder. “Digital care for pre-chronic conditions is new, and people are naturally skeptical. There’s now a great scientific recognition.”

Customers pay about $60 per month for Noom, though discounts are available. The company has major deals with the Blue Cross plans in California and Colorado. Some of its deals with insurers are paid on a per-member, per-month basis, but Petakov said he prefers to set up deals whereby the company gets paid when members lose weight.

Users typically complete the Noom program in four months, with the app sending mini challenges and tracking progress along the way. Challenges include identifying one barrier to healthy eating, such as time, cost, convenience.

Because the app teaches nutrition and exercise strategies, its users tend to maintain their progress rather than falling back into old habits. Research showed that a year after completing Noom’s program, 60% of people were still at their benchmark goal.

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