Annual OPTIFAST® "New You" Weight Loss Winners Announced

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 General News
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Patients and Clinicians from California, North Carolina, Seattle and Philadelphia Rewarded for Dedication to Healthy Living

FLORHAM PARK, N.J., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nestle HealthCare Nutrition today announced the winners of the second annual OPTIFAST® "New You" weight loss contest.

Three OPTIFAST patients, whose combined weight loss is more than 475 pounds,* will embark to New York City for makeovers and shopping sprees. In addition, two extraordinary OPTIFAST health care professionals will be recognized with the OPTIFAST Inspire Award for their dedication and passion to helping patients lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"The positive changes that these patients have made to improve their long-term health are truly inspiring," said Bill Kesting, Director and General Manager for OPTIFAST. "We are delighted to recognize them for their determination, dedication and success."

With 65 percent, or 200 million, Americans overweight and nearly one-in-three clinically obese (approximately 72 million),(1) the OPTIFAST "New You" weight loss contest recognizes OPTIFAST patients who achieve their weight loss goals and the medical professionals who helped them get there.  [(1) Ogden CL, Carroll MD, McDowell MA, Flegal KM. Obesity among adults in the United States— no change since 2003–2004. NCHS data brief no 1. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2007]

The 2011 "New You" OPTIFAST contest patient winners are as follows. To view their before and after pictures, visit

  • Brenda Burris, Palmdale, California: Brenda cannot remember a time in her life when she was not obese. After the unexpected and untimely passing of her mother, Brenda reached a peak weight of 467 pounds and developed health problems including Type 2 diabetes and decreased mobility. As the mother of two young children, she knew she had to make a change. In 14 months on the OPTIFAST Program, Brenda lost a staggering 276 pounds* causing her body mass index (BMI) to drop from 73 to 30. She no longer has diabetes, has the stamina to exercise five days a week and has even taken up karate.
  • Johanna Moody-Gatlin, Seattle, Washington: Like many mothers, Johanna struggled with excess weight gain during pregnancy. Her struggle continued post-pregnancy and while she had some success in losing a few pounds here and there, the weight always returned. In addition to the extra pounds, her cholesterol and blood glucose levels were alarmingly high. She realized she needed to get healthy for herself and for the sake of her family. After losing 93 pounds,* Johanna now has a healthy relationship with food, normal cholesterol and blood glucose levels and is dedicated to keeping her body strong and fit by maintaining the lifestyle learned through the OPTIFAST Program.
  • James Sutherland, Fletcher, North Carolina: James credits his successful journey to losing 110 pounds on the OPTIFAST Program* with giving him his health back. Before his weight loss he was taking 13 medications daily, suffering from sleep apnea and had both of his knees replaced due to joint damage caused by excess weight. Today he no longer has sleep apnea, has drastically reduced his daily medication and enjoys exercising. James wants everyone to know that it is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle and that "you can teach an old dog new tricks."

The OPTIFAST Inspire Award recipients are as follows. To learn more about these health care professionals, visit

  • Cheryl Marco, RD, LDN, CDE, Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Since 1997 Cheryl has been successfully administering Jefferson University Hospital's OPTIFAST Program and changing thousands of lives along the way. Nominated by several of her patients, Cheryl is described as an "exceptional mentor" whose "passion for patients makes her an inspiration." They credit her ability to support, educate and nurture as the driving force that helped them lose unwanted weight and improve their health.
  • Linda Gromko, MD, Queen Anne Medical Weight Loss Center, Seattle, Washington: Linda is a family physician and Medical Director of Queen Anne Medical Weight Loss Center where she regularly recommends the OPTIFAST Program to her patients. Linda believes in the program because she's seen it help so many people regain control of their lives and health, but also because she uses OPTIFAST for her personal weight management.

"The support that these exceptional medical professionals provide is an integral part of their patients' weight loss successes," said Dr. Jamy Ard, Medical Director for the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Eat Right Weight Management Services and Medical Director for OPTIFAST. "We want to take the time to recognize the importance of the role they play in inspiring patients to adopt a lifelong habit of health. Ultimately, they are changing and saving lives."


OPTIFAST was developed in 1974 to fill the growing need to address obesity in a healthy, effective way. As diseases related to obesity became more prevalent, and more and more people began taking drastic measures to treat the problem, OPTIFAST was introduced as a sensible option for lifestyle transformation. The program combines support and counseling, lifestyle education, and medical monitoring with meal replacements to help people lose weight* which can in turn reduce weight-related health risks. A team of dedicated medical professionals provide support. The OPTIFAST Program is available in over 400 clinics nationwide. OPTIFAST is a business segment within Nestle HealthCare Nutrition. For more information, to see patient stories and to find a clinic, visit

About Nestle Health Science

Nestle Health Science, through its Nestle HealthCare Nutrition business, offers nutritional solutions for people with specific dietary needs related to illnesses, disease states or the special challenges of different life stages. Nestle Health Science, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestle S.A., has become operational on January 1, 2011 and has worldwide headquarters in Lutry (Switzerland). For more information, visit

*The typical OPTIFAST patient loses 52 pounds in 22 weeks. For many dieters, weight loss is only temporary. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Nestle Health Science


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