Sixty-four percent of West Virginia adults are carrying a heavy burden around every day, and those who depend on Medicaid are getting some help to get rid of it with the help of Weight Watchers.
Sixty pounds thinner, Beverly Luikart is feeling good.
“I have three grandchildren and I am able to keep up with them, enjoy playing ball and hiking with them,” said Luikart. “I feel a whole lot better.”
She credits her new figure to Weight Watchers. Up to 75,000 Medicaid recipients may have a chance to follow in Luikart’s footsteps. They don't have to drop any dollars, but they may have to shed some pounds.
Unicare is offering free weight loss courses at Weight Watchers to its Medicaid clients. Obesity related diseases cost Medicaid more than a $100,000 million dollars each year. Unicare wants to stop that number from growing.
Luikart says she hopes the program works because she knows what it feels like to be overweight.
“You get really tried, you can't climb the stairs, you try to park close to the front door to the supermarket so you don't have to walk so far,” said Luikart.
With this new program, more people will have an opportunity to walk their way into good health.
After Beverly got rid of the weight, she decided to help others do the same. She now works for Weight Watchers. The new program is not just open to adults on Medicaid, and is also available to children from ages 10 to 17. There are certain requirements to get in the program, however. You have to get a physician referral and have a certain body mass index.