Aetna Announces New Metabolic Syndrome Risk-Reduction Pilot Program with Newtopia

Thursday, October 10, 2013 8:00 am EDT
Dateline: HARTFORD, Conn.

HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced a new Metabolic Syndrome risk-reduction pilot project with Newtopia, a leading personalized health company that uses genetic testing and the latest behavioral science to build highly personalized lifestyle plans. Working together, the companies aim to reduce a person's Metabolic Syndrome risk factors, particularly abdominal size, through online food logging, activity tracking, behavior management, and one-on-one sessions with a personal coach. Successfully reducing the risk for Metabolic Syndrome has the potential to both improve long-term quality of life and lower health care costs.

Aetna Innovation Labs, a unit dedicated to piloting novel initiatives a few years ahead of their widespread adoption, is continuing its efforts to help improve population health by addressing Metabolic Syndrome, a condition that increases an individual's chance of developing diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease. This initiative builds off Aetna's successful creation of predictive models that identify at-risk individuals for Metabolic Syndrome with a high degree of accuracy. These models, developed by Aetna Innovation Labs with GNS Healthcare, were designed to identify members who are at greatest risk of acquiring or retaining Metabolic Syndrome for participation in the Newtopia program.

"During the course of the last year, Aetna Innovation Labs has successfully piloted an analysis of Metabolic Syndrome and the creation of predictive models for Metabolic Syndrome. This prior work showed significantly increased risk of both diabetes and heart disease for those living with Metabolic Syndrome," said Michael Palmer, vice president of Innovation at Aetna. "With this new pilot program with Newtopia, we are aiming to help members address Metabolic Syndrome through specific actions, before more serious chronic conditions arise, like diabetes and heart disease."

Aetna selected Newtopia for this effort for their unique approach toward achieving a healthy weight with an integrative and personalized focus on nutrition, exercise, and behavioral well-being. Newtopia's program begins with a "genetic reveal," leveraging a saliva-based genetic test to stratify participants with respect to three genes associated with obesity, appetite, and behavior. Based on the results of this test and an online assessment, Newtopia matches each participant to a plan and coach trained to focus on the member's specific genetic, personality and motivation profile. Through online coaching sessions, Newtopia will help members achieve results related to maintaining a healthy weight and Metabolic Syndrome risk-reduction, which will be measured by changes from a pre- and post-program biometric screening.

"Newtopia's mission is to inspire individuals to make the lifestyle choices that can help them build healthy lives," said Jeffrey Ruby, Founder and CEO of Newtopia. "It is exciting to work with a visionary company like Aetna to demonstrate that we can stem the incidence and cost of Metabolic Syndrome for at-risk individuals through the latest in genetics, behavioral science and engagement."

This Aetna Innovation Labs Metabolic Syndrome risk-reduction pilot will deliver Newtopia's differentiated health engagement program to approximately 500 Aetna employees over the course of the next 12 months. Aetna will not receive results of genetic testing for any components of this initiative.

A two-minute video about Aetna Innovation Labs is available on the new Aetna YouTube channel.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 44 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see

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