WW International -- formerly known as Weight Watchers -- has launched a comprehensive program Monday to help users stay in shape and reduce stress during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The Oprah Winfrey–backed wellness company, which rebranded in 2018 as WW, launched its myWW+ program focusing on helping users increase their activity levels, achieve better sleep and avoid stress-eating.
The myWW+ program builds upon Weight Watchers' new customizable myWW program, which launched last November.
This comes at a time when some Americans remain distressed over the COVID-19 pandemic and as cases surge and the cold weather encroaches. Also, more people are being forced to stay indoors which can put an end to a normal exercise routine.
Additionally, health protocols such as social distancing can make people feel isolated and lonely, which can increase stress and anxiety, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stress can cause changes in sleep or eating patterns and even worsen mental health problems, according to the CDC.
For overweight adults, the risk of getting a severe illness from COVID-19 increases. It may even triple their risk of hospitalization, the CDC said.
With the WW app, members will receive "bite-sized audio sessions" through new "5-Minute Coaching" that will help members manage their eating and stress levels. Through the app, members will also be able to track sleep while getting strategies on how to improve their sleep habits.
Members can take part in on-demand equipment-free workouts through in-app content from partners such as FitOn and Aaptiv, and track their daily progress.
There are also new meal-planning tools to help members customize what they want to eat throughout the week.
As coronavirus cases continue to surge around the nation, this stress might not go away as soon as expected.
Last month, half of U.S. adults reported at least some signs of depression, such as hopelessness, feeling like a failure or getting little pleasure from activities. That’s double the rate from a different survey two years ago, Boston University researchers said in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.
“There is no question that many people in the U.S. and worldwide are experiencing real and often distressing emotional reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in some cases, to contracting the virus,” said psychiatrist Dr. Ronald Pies, a retired professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
To date, U.S. cases total more than 11 million, with about 246,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.