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Healthimation’s Why WAIT: A Weight Management App Combines Hollywood Animation and Healthcare

Updated: 8/14/21 1:00 amPublished: 1/28/20
By Karena Yan

The first of its kind, Why WAIT is a creative app-based approach to weight loss and diabetes management

Healthimation, a healthcare animation studio, has developed an app (on Android and iOS) to bring evidence-based weight management programs to people with diabetes or prediabetes. The app, called Why WAIT (Weight Achievement and Intensive Treatment), is based on the Why WAIT Program at Joslin Diabetes Center. Joslin’s clinical program has operated for more than 15 years – 53 percent of its participants maintain a nine percent weight loss after five years, which is 18 pounds (about 8 kg) for a 200-pound (about 91kg) person.

Through engaging Hollywood-grade animation, gamifying daily tasks, and live coaching, Healthimation’s app encourages users to make healthy behavior changes. Lena is the character that guides people through personal nutrition and exercise coaching, and the software makes Lena “smarter” for more personal recommendations over time.

After a one-week free trial, Why WAIT costs $49.99 per month. The app is not inexpensive; it costs about $20 more per month than Weight Watchers’ Workshop Program, another popular weightloss app. Why WAIT is available on Apple and Android, includes three languages (English, Arabic, and Chinese), and can sync with activity trackers such as Fitbit and Apple Watch.

What comes with the program?

The app offers many features, including:

  • Daily meal and exercise programs, with healthy habit tips;

  • A personal nutrition plan, including grocery shopping lists and recipes;

  • An interactive exercise program, with demonstrations by Lena;

  • A full-time live health coach;

  • A group chat with other users for peer support;

  • Tracking progress towards weekly goals, with game-like rewards for daily tasks.

What makes Healthimation different?

People with diabetes are often told to lose weight, but many do not have the right tools or support to do that. Healthimation is one of the first companies to combine Hollywood animation and gamification with healthcare delivery. The app is a creative effort to bridge the gap between clinical practice and real-world outcomes – a major challenge in type 2 diabetes and obesity prevention. For example, though the Why WAIT Program at Joslin has been highly successful, the program is limited to the Boston clinic. Healthimation’s app attempts to expand the reach of these clinically proven initiatives in a way that is accessible and engaging.

Healthimation is still in its early stages, with only a few reviews. However, the unique program represents the collaborative innovation that may be very helpful to many in tackling diabetes.

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About the authors

Karena Yan joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2019 after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelors in Biology and Global Health and Environment. As an undergrad, she... Read the full bio »