Back in October, VatorNews covered the launch of Sharecare.com, an interactive question-and-answer forum for users’ health-related concerns. The company, created by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz of “The Dr. Oz Show,” among others, announced Tuesday that it will be powering Dr. Oz’s “11 Weeks to Move it and Lose it” weight loss program.
The free online weight-loss program, which was announced on “The Dr. Oz Show” on Monday, will allow participants to use Sharecare.com’s social Q&A platform to design a customized weight-loss program, and can track their progress using customizable weight-loss tools, such as a food log, an individualized calendar, and a weight-loss community. Users will also be able to get tips and suggestions from Nike SPARQ Elite Coaches, leading health and nutrition experts, and even Dr. Oz, himself.
To sign up, participants can register on www.DoctorOz.com and select either the “lose weight” or “improve health” option. They will then be guided through an interactive health assessment to determine their fitness levels and what kinds of fitness goals they should set for themselves. Based on this assessment, participants will be given a customized program with information on how to achieve their ideal fitness levels.
“We know that 80% of people who work with a coach stick with a weight loss program and ‘Dr. Oz’s 11 Weeks to Move It and Lose It’ is a great way to share the benefits of a personal coaching leveraging the Internet,” said Dr. Mike Clark, CEO of the National Academy of Sports Medicine, in a prepared statement. Dr. Clark will participate in the program as one of the Nike SPARQ Elite Coaches.
Sharecare.com is a unique health Q&A platform that was created by Jeff Arnold and Dr. Oz in partnership with Harpo Productions (Oprah’s production company), Sony Pictures Television, Discovery Communications, and HSW International. What makes the site somewhat unusual, if not controversial, is the fact that a number of health questions are answered by marketers from Dove, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Walgreen, among others. Of course, the site also features health advice from experts representing organizations like AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Cleveland Clinic, the American Red Cross, Johns Hopkins, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. And answers from marketers are also labeled with company logos so users can see who is answering their questions.
But the question remains: why bother allowing brands to answer questions at all? Doesn’t it seem somewhat unethical to let Dove and Johnson & Johnson answer questions about skin and hair health?
“Sharecare would be remiss to exclude the significant contribution in expertise provided by brands that have invested billions of dollars into legitimate research that each and every one of us have benefited from at some point in our lives,” said chairman Jeff Arnold in an email back in October.
“Since its launch, Sharecare has become a robust online hub for leading health and wellness experts, including everyone from the American Red Cross to the Cleveland Clinic to the AARP. The Sharecare platform allows these experts to share their collective wisdom directly with the public,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz in a prepared statement. “My ‘11 Weeks to Move It and Lose It’ program furthers Sharecare’s aim by harnessing the power of the Internet to give people greater control of their own health destiny.”
Image source: sharecare.com