Losing Weight? Quitting Smoking? U.Va. Benefits Can Help

December 22, 2008  — If losing weight or quitting smoking is on your New Year's resolution list, the University of Virginia can provide some incentive and help. Human Resources' "Hoos Fit" health and wellness program recently added Weight Watchers and the Free & Clear Quit For Life Program to employee benefits.

To help pave the way to weight-loss success, Weight Watchers offers employees several options:

• Local Meeting Vouchers: This prepaid savings plan offers the flexibility of attending Weight Watchers meetings in your community when and where it's most convenient. Vouchers are available for 13-week or 18-week sessions. To order, call 1-866-614-9129.

• At-Work Meetings: Bring Weight Watchers to the workplace with a trained leader to facilitate weekly meetings and take advantage of group support from co-workers. Employees pay the fee upfront and are reimbursed for half of the cost, as long as they attend at least 10 meetings. To request a meeting or to sign up and join an existing one, contact the U.Va. Wellness Coordinator at 434-924-4392. A minimum enrollment of 15 people is required.

• Online Subscription: The step-by-step plan comes online, with interactive tools and resources, including a weight tracker, progress charts, restaurant guides and hundreds of recipes and meal ideas.

One of the most important steps a person can take toward good health is quitting tobacco. The University is offering a fully subsidized Quit For Life tobacco cessation program.

Open to employees, spouses and dependents age 18 or older enrolled on the U.Va. Health Plan, the Free & Clear Quit For Life Program treats tobacco use as an addiction, not just a bad habit. The program helps users of cigarettes, cigars, pipes or smokeless tobacco.

Enrollees in the program have access to:

• Unlimited toll-free access to "Quit Coaches," who offer counsel about how to make good decisions and behave differently in situations where you would normally use tobacco.

• Recommendations on type, dose and duration of medication, including nicotine patches or gum or prescriptions like bupropion or Chantix. Nicotine replacement therapy with the patch or gum can be mailed directly to your home for free. The U.Va. Health Plan began this year to cover prescription medications for smoking cessation.

• Access to Web Coach, an online community that provides information and support from other people in the program.
To enroll in the program, call 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE (1-866-784-8454) or visit www.quitnow.net/uva/.

For information on these and other programs, contact Wellness Coordinator Cynthia Rutherford by calling 434-924-4392 or e-mailing car8z@virginia.edu.