ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 21 /PRNewswire/ — HealthMedia, Inc., the pioneer in applying advanced technology to emulate a health coaching session via the web – without the coach – for wellness, disease management, behavioral health, and medication adherence, is launching HealthMedia(R) Overcoming(TM) Binge Eating. This revolutionary new program is the first solution of its kind that addresses America's top eating disorder and its growing impact on healthcare costs and productivity. The highly effective, evidence-based program emulates the experience of an around-the-clock health coach, nutritionist, and psychologist working together via the web to help individuals suffering from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) regain control of their eating and emotions.

Just as a psychologist would do, Overcoming Binge Eating connects with each individual, and gathers detailed information such as distinct eating triggers, motivation, self confidence, stage of change, and barriers to change. Then, using HealthMedia's Fusion(TM) technology, Overcoming Binge Eating creates a personalized, highly tailored program to help individuals control their eating and enjoy a higher quality of life.

An untailored version of the program is being used successfully by treatment centers and individuals throughout the world, and has been proven to reduce frequency of compulsive overeating by 40 percent, and significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Highmark Inc. and other health plans and employers are recognizing and responding to the need to address binge eating, and are offering the newly enhanced and tailored binge eating program to their members and employees over the next few months.

"Highmark has long been at the forefront of leading initiatives aimed at fighting obesity in children and adults. We are very pleased that HealthMedia has developed an online program to address binge eating," said Donald R. Fischer, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Highmark Inc. "Because of the secrecy associated with this disorder, individuals often do not readily seek treatment. The confidential, non-threatening approach of Overcoming Binge Eating makes this online tool a valuable addition to the treatment of this complex problem. Highmark plans to offer this program to our employees and members."

"Like insomnia, binge eating is one of those issues that affect productivity and a range of medical outcomes, particularly when binge eating is co-morbid with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease," said Ted Dacko, HealthMedia President and CEO. "Binge eating interventions fill a critical gap in health and wellness, disease management, and behavioral health, and should be an integral part of any weight management or obesity program."

"Researchers now believe that like other eating disorders, there are psychiatric reasons for binge eating and it all feeds into an obesity epidemic that seems to start in childhood," said NBC reporter Tom Costello, on a recent episode of the Today show. The effects and severity of BED were also echoed by Costello in a recent NBC News segment ( e8cf48cd343f). (Due to the length of the URL, please copy and paste into your browser.)

This program is just one part of HealthMedia's national campaign to call attention to binge eating. In the U.S. alone, BED is estimated to be responsible for $33 million in lost productivity and medical expenses annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that more than a quarter of Americans are now obese – up nearly two percent between 2005 and 2007. Up to 25% of obese individuals suffer from Binge Eating Disorder. "Most organizations have a weight management program, but they are missing the binge eating component, which is why we built this program," added Dacko. "By adding this revolutionary product to the MyHealthMedia suite, we are filling an enormous gap in the marketplace."

"Binge eating disorder – often a secretive illness – frequently goes undiagnosed so it is hard to get a true picture of how many people suffer," said Lynn Grefe, CEO, National Eating Disorder Association. "All reports indicate it affects many millions. The medical and psychological consequences can be devastating, whether associated with bulimia or obesity. As with all eating disorders, early intervention is vital to successful recovery."

Binge Eating Facts:

— Binge eating now tops the nation's list of eating disorders – more prevalent than anorexia and bulimia combined

— BED sufferers repeatedly consume large amounts of food at one sitting (more than 1,500 calories), and often eat to cope with stress or numb themselves from depression or past traumas

— According to a recent study, 3.5% of females and 2% of males (over 6 million Americans) suffer from binge eating

— Up to 25% of obese individuals suffer from BED, a fact that assumes even greater importance as the national rate of obesity is peaking at an all-time high. Obesity is the second cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. and over 25 percent or 50 million Americans are considered obese

— Most binge eaters are desperate for help, but stigma and embarrassment often prevent them from seeking treatment

— While treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective for binge eaters, too many go undiagnosed and too few know where to go for help

— Many binge eaters have reported that diet and weight loss treatment programs recommended by their doctor not only ignored the psychological and emotional elements, but in many cases caused their BED to escalate

About HealthMedia, Inc.

HealthMedia, Inc. is the world's innovator in combining advanced technology and behavioral science to effectively emulate a health coach via the web. HealthMedia applies its revolutionary Fusion(TM) technology to address the five most problematic pain points facing the health industry today: participation, scalability, cost, efficacy, and return on investment. HealthMedia's suite of interventions provides automated web-based coaching for wellness, disease management, behavioral health, and medication adherence with proven outcomes, increased compliance, reduced medical utilization, and increased productivity – boosting profitability for health plans, employers, pharmaceutical companies, and behavioral health organizations. Clients include Kaiser Permanente, Johnson & Johnson, Daiichi Sankyo, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Inc., Community First Health Plans, and nine Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations across the United States. HealthMedia partners include APS Healthcare, Corphealth, Health Dialog, Wellsource, and SHPS. For more information, visit .

  Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Ted Dacko  Richard Bedrosian, PhD  

SOURCE HealthMedia, Inc.