CareFirst, Noom program aims to 'retrain' the brain of members with obesity, prediabetes

The first step to living healthier is choosing that lifestyle, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has tapped Noom for Work to help many of its approximately 3.2 million members make that decision.

The partnership, announced this week, will focus on CareFirst members who struggle with obesity as well as those with prediabetes, according to an announcement.

In what Noom called a “mind-first approach,” the program will include a curriculum for those struggling with weight control that will focus on the “why” behind the behaviors that have led to problems, and then get to work on changing those behaviors.

Included are daily lessons tailored to each person’s weight-loss goals, such as continuous education, food intake tracking and advice on how to connect to devices, such as scales and wearables, that offer not only immediate feedback but also encouragement.

CareFirst members, most of whom reside in the mid-Atlantic region, can also access personal coaching, and input from peer support groups, according to the announcement.

"So much of the impact on weight in the U.S. is based on the lifestyle choices we make, and we know how hard it is to retrain your brain to develop healthier habits in a way that is easy, accessible and personalized," Matt Mouradian, Noom’s general manager of healthcare, said in the press release. "We’re extremely excited to partner with an innovative organization like CareFirst [that] is prioritizing the health of its members with programs like Noom, which can be accessed by its full population to help develop healthier habits that last, ultimately reduce the risk of chronic conditions and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.”

CareFirst members with prediabetes will also have access to Noom’s Diabetes Prevention program, which the company bills as the first digital behavioral change program recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Those who meet the criteria for prediabetes will be offered similar behavioral control encouragement as people with obesity, except it will be tailored more to combating that disease according to CDC requirements.

According to the CDC, the signs and symptoms of prediabetes include being overweight, being over the age of 45, having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes and being physically active less than three times per week. More than 72% of the adult population in the U.S. is overweight, with more than half the population being obese, and those numbers continue to rise, according to the CDC.

In addition, 47% of chronic conditions can be attributed to being overweight, according to the agency.

More than one in three adults have prediabetes, according to the CDC, and more than 80% of those with prediabetes aren’t aware that they have it. The condition puts individuals at risk for stroke and heart disease in addition to type 2 diabetes.

Mack McGee, CareFirst’s vice president and chief marketing officer, said in the press release that tapping Noom for Work helps the health plan redesign its preventive programs.

“With specific focus on preventive care to yield better health outcomes, CareFirst WellBeing is prioritizing innovative programs that fit into daily life and meet people where they are in their healthcare journey," McGee said. "This partnership with Noom will empower the people we serve to take charge of their health through healthier habits and weight management to mitigate chronic conditions, and we’re excited to see the benefits it brings to our members.”