Walking: Health Care’s Magic Bullet?

Want to improve your health? Get out and walk.

Want to reduce your health care costs? Ditto.

Signs pointing to walking’s not-so-subtle impact on our general and financial health are found everywhere we look.

Even moderate exercise, it turns out, results in significant health care savings. 

According to a 2015 study conducted by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, moderate exercisers (defined as employees who took as few as 5,000 steps per day, or the equivalent of about 38 to 75 minutes of activity) had:

• Annual healthcare costs nearly 20 percent lower than employees who did not exercise, and
• Rates of emergency room visits and inpatient hospital stays more than 50 percent lower than employees* who did not exercise.

The effect of regular exercise on the employee population was found to be one of the “best medicines” for working toward, attaining, or maintaining healthy lifestyles. Even for obese members, evidence showed those who elected not to participate in the walking program continued to have healthcare costs 23 percent to 39 percent higher than obese members who participated. 

Regular physical activity is probably as close to a magic bullet as we will come in modern medicine.
— Dr. JoAnn Manson

Walking is foundational to wellness, not only because of the health benefits of the activity itself, but because it heightens awareness for the importance of well-being in all aspects of our lives. 

When it comes to psychological health, for example, new research suggests that simply going for a leisurely walk can improve mood and boost subjective well-being, particularly for adults who are normally sedentary.

Researchers from the University of Connecticut in Mansfield found that people who engaged in physical activity demonstrated greater subjective well-being. However, the benefits of physical activity were found to vary by intensity. The study revealed that sedentary adults who increased their exercise levels to light or moderate activity demonstrated the greatest increases in subjective well-being.

Dr. JoAnn Manson, Chief of Preventive Medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, once eloquently captured walking’s significance in our pursuit of true well-being.

“Regular physical activity is probably as close to a magic bullet as we will come in modern medicine,” said Dr. Manson. “If everyone in the U.S. were to walk briskly 30 minutes a day, we could cut the incidence of many chronic diseases 30 to 40%.”


*Comparison was made between employees who were overweight and moderate exercisers, and employees who were overweight and non-exercisers.

Sources: http://storage.pardot.com/53512/39664/Onlife_Health___Impact_of_Physical_Activity_on_Claims_Costs.pdf
Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317451.php
Source: “The Juggling Act: The Healthy Boomer's Guide to Achieving Balance in Midlife” by Peggy Edwards, Miroslava Lhotsky & Judy Turner (McClelland & Stewart).

CARROT Quiz: What's the Value of 42 Million Steps?

During the month of June, CARROT sponsored a sweepstakes drawing for a $50 Whole Foods gift card. (Certainly not a lavish prize, but nice nonetheless, especially for those trying to make smarter mealtime decisions!)

The result? CARROT users submitted more than 8,500 entries, redeeming more than 42 million steps in an effort to win a single $50 prize. That's roughly the equivalent of walking 18,700 miles...  at a cost of about $0.0000005 per mile.

Here at CARROT, we consider that an AWESOME return on investment!

Keep taking those #CARROTsteps!


For People with Diabetes, Walking May Help Reduce Health Care Costs

If you could save $9.07 for each additional 100 steps you took, how far would YOU walk?

Participating in a walking program may indeed reduce out-of-pocket health care expenses for people with diabetes. That’s the recent finding by researchers from the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research.

According to their findings, every additional 100 daily steps taken by participants was related to an average individual savings of $9.07.

The research team examined step count data for 7,594 Blue Cross Blue Care Network (BCN) enrollees who participated in its Walkingspree program in 2010. Using data submitted monthly by the subjects, the researchers were able to compare the change in total annual health care costs for the year before and after starting the program.

According to their findings, every additional 100 daily steps taken by participants was related to an average individual savings of $9.07. They also found that, on average, individuals without diabetes experienced greater total cost reductions compared to those with diabetes or diabetes with complications.

Among individuals who averaged at least 5,000 daily steps, the average expected total change in annual health care costs was $872.67 for people with diabetes and $2491.88 for people with diabetes with complications. Although there is an expected increase in health care costs for the average person with diabetes, this increase is relatively smaller for those who averaged more daily steps.

The group presented its findings at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in San Diego this past March (“Can a Pedometer-Based Walking Program Lower Health Care Costs Among Adults with Type 2 Diabetes?”).


Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/03/prweb14166552.htm

Study: Walking Reduces Medical Costs

How can you reduce an employee’s health care costs by $676 per year? Get them to walk another 3,000 steps per day.

According to the Journal of Diabetes Investigation (JDI), a 10-year study in Japan establishes that there is indeed a direct correlation between walking and health care costs.

Spurred by the increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related disease, researchers decided to evaluate the effect of walking on medical costs. Focusing mainly on diabetes, the numbers of subjects with diabetes were 4.3 and 7.3% lower for daily increase of 3,000 and 5,000 steps, respectively.  

Lower medical costs were also seen according to the daily increase in steps.  In 10 years, total medical costs were 5.2% lower for those who increased their steps by 3,000 per day, and medical costs were 8.4% lower for those increasing their daily steps by 5,000.

These potential savings could be significant for employers.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2016 Employer Health Benefits Study, U.S. companies contribute an average of nearly $13,000 per employee in healthcare costs. Using the JDI study’s findings, increasing an employee’s average steps by 3,000 per day would mean a savings of $676 per employee annually – and an increase of 5,000 daily steps would result in a per-employee annual savings of $1,092.

Clearly, the importance of walking on lifestyle-related disease AND medical costs cannot be overstated.

“Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug”

According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is "the closest thing we have to a wonder drug”.

He’s talking about (drum roll, please)… walking.

Yes, walking, that most basic physical activity. Thanks to social media, the very first steps taken by pretty much every young tot seem to be shared with the world. From that moment on, walking becomes (and continues to be) a critical, fundamental activity for a lifetime.  

That’s why walking is generally accepted to be foundational to good health. And according to the Harvard Medical School, there are five particular benefits to walking that you may find surprising:

1. Walking counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes.
Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people and discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.

2. Walking helps tame a sweet tooth.
A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations.

3. Walking reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.
An American Cancer Society study found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors.

4. Walking eases joint pain.
Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.

5. Walking boosts immune function.
A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

Our takeaway: get out and take those #CARROTsteps today!


Source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking

Where Gaming Meets Health

"You've got to make it fun."

That's what preventative medicine professor Timothy Church said about tracking your fitness in a recent USA Today article. The Louisiana State University researcher made this declaration while defending the value that fitness trackers have in the marketplace.

The fun is lacking, and therefore, so are the results. It's shown with all of the top wearable fitness trackers. It's not shown, however, with the CARROT Wellness app.

So where was this theory proven that combining fitness and fun can be successful? Pokemon Go. It was an app that asked its users to get out of the house and be active in order to compete, and the results were outstanding. That is, for about six weeks. But how can this wellness effort be sustained?

"We've seen a disconnect," said Michael Antaran, CEO of CARROT Wellness. "The data has been telling us that the solutions out there just don't work.

"Before we developed CARROT, we were primarily a gaming company. We were contributing to the sedentary lifestyles out there, and we decided we wanted to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. So we took our gaming mentality and ‘gamified’ health and wellness."

CARROT is a wellness program that, frankly, doesn’t seem like a wellness program. People compete as individuals and as teams. They challenge others, and they challenge themselves. Games are intertwined with other games and, almost as if by accident, users find themselves creating a new healthy habit of movement.

CARROT’s ‘gamified’ approach is different than anything in the marketplace.

"We created currencies that can only be earned by walking and meeting personalized activity goals," continued Antaran. "Meet your goal and earn a coin. Take one step and earn a point. Earn a certain amount, and you can cash them in for contest entries, prizes and incentives."

According to USA Today, there are three main criteria on which to focus for long-term wellness: understanding your current activity, setting achievable personal goals, and receiving support from friends and family. Maybe it's just coincidence, but while large fitness tracking companies scramble to incorporate this recipe for success into their devices, CARROT Wellness already offers it.

First, while tapping into your phone's health data, CARROT automatically generates an individualized goal for you based on your personal activity history and updates each day. CARROT meets you where you are and leads you, slowly and incrementally, to create a new “normal” for activity.

The fact that five-out-of-six CARROT Wellness users begin with a daily goal of less than 4,500 steps demonstrates the program’s ability to appeal to those who would not typically participate in fitness initiatives. CARROT, with its roots in mobile gamification, is effective because it works for EVERYONE.

The larger pool of participants leads to greater social support and makes the program more fun for everyone. It becomes an organization's favorite "water cooler" topic. Participants like that they can compete with and against friends. The app even incentivizes users to share CARROT with their co-workers, adding to the viral nature of the program.

Given that 85% of CARROT Wellness participants open the app at least once a day – many of them opening the app four or five times daily – the program boasts engagement levels that traditional programs can only envy.

Perhaps there’s something to this ‘gamification’ stuff.

"Playing games on mobile devices is fun," said Antaran. "We figured getting healthy should be, too."

Study: Just Two Sedentary Weeks Can Have Troubling Effects

It’s always important to keep moving – but don’t just take our word for it. Ask the researchers at the University of Liverpool.

They recently conducted a study to determine the effects of inactivity. Their findings? Just two weeks of inactivity in young healthy people can reduce muscle mass and produce metabolic changes that could lead to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and potentially premature death.

The study included 28 physically active young adults who averaged at least 10,000 steps per day, but didn’t really exercise otherwise. The participants were instructed to cut their daily step count by 80 percent, or to about 1,500 steps per day.

“Basically, they took 28 healthy, active people, and they recruited them to be couch potatoes – essentially to see what would happen,” Dr. Frank McGeorge from the Henry Ford Medical Group said in a recent interview with WJR Radio’s Paul W. Smith. “Nothing in their diet changed at all, so all they did was become couch potatoes.”

After two weeks, researchers noticed significant changes in the participants’ body compositions, including loss of skeletal muscle mass and increases in total body fat.

“After only 14 days – two weeks – of significantly decreased activity, all of the participants had a reduction in muscle mass, as well as an uptick in body fat – particularly that more dangerous, metabolically active central body fat,” Dr. McGeorge said.

Bursts over long periods of time don’t really do as much as being consistent.
— Dr. Frank McGeorge, Henry Ford Medical Group

Overall, results showed that cardio-respiratory fitness levels declined sharply and participants were unable to run for as long or at the same intensity as previously.

Scary. So what’s the takeaway here?

“The real value in this particular study is that it shows that very unhealthy changes can occur in a very short time – basically as little as two weeks – and it reminds everyone that it's important to try to be as consistent as possible when you're exercising, working out, or basically staying active and fit.”

Added Dr. McGeorge: “Bursts over long periods of time don't really do as much as being consistent."

In the end, it’s not about running marathons. It’s about getting a little healthier each and every day. Keep taking those #CarrotSteps.

Choosing a Wellness Program? 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

Organizations have plenty of options when it comes to improving the well being of its staff members. Before you commit to using a health and wellness program, here are eight questions you should ask yourself:

(1) "If our current program is so great, why do we have to spend so many resources promoting it?"
CARROT’s success doesn’t rely on multi-faceted marketing campaigns aimed at your own staff. Rather, CARROT leverages the very tenets of mobile technology and gamification to provide a fun, motivating experience that grows quickly and organically throughout your organization. (In fact, staff members are incentivized to recruit their co-workers into the program!)

(2) "Does our current program engage our participants every Saturday and Sunday?"
About 85% of CARROT Health & Wellness participants engage with the app at least once per day, seven-day-a-week. (And most users engage at least three times daily!)  

(3) "Would we benefit from a mobile tool to support everything we do?"
A great wellness program complements all of your other initiatives. CARROT is designed to not only generate interest in your other well-being programs, but it’s also a seamless platform to reward those who complete HRA’s, annual screenings, nutrition classes, health coaching and other wellness activities. 

(4) "Does our current program create a real 'buzz' around the office?"
CARROT will not only serve as an effective wellness program, but it will also be your organization’s best employee engagement tool. With its digital rewards, games, contests, team & individual challenges and staff leaderboards, CARROT will quickly become a unifying program that adds value and becomes a favorite “water cooler” topic.  

(5) "Is our current program personally meaningful?"
“Personalized” means the program itself, and not just the marketing, has been customized to the participant. CARROT meets people where they are today, creating an individualized activity goal that allows them to be successful and engaged in the program. 

(6) "Shouldn't a great program actually make our HR staff's job easier?"
CARROT is a “set it and forget it” solution. CARROT’s algorithm recommends rewards for your population to maximize participation, engagement and the incentives budget. Digital rewards eliminate fulfillment, and easy-to-read analytics allow you to monitor progress.  

(7) "Wouldn't an easier, more simple program get more people to participate?"
People don’t want to log into web portals or remember passwords – so they don’t. With CARROT, there are NO web portals, NO passwords to remember, and NO paperwork to complete. CARROT reduces friction at every turn.  

(8) "Shouldn't the convenience of our own staff members be a primary consideration?"
CARROT is truly a MOBILE solution. It operates entirely on the user’s smartphone. Participation and messaging are done directly through the app, and lock screen notifications keep everyone engaged.  

(Oops… okay, so we miscounted! There’s actually a NINTH question you should ask yourself before committing to a wellness program:)

(9) "Is our staff more likely to participate in a program that's FUN?"
CARROT’s results are based on “lives touched”, not “percentage increases”. In a pilot open to 1,300 employees, 435 registered and actively participated in less than six weeks – and the only internal promotion of the pilot came in the form of two emails. If there’s true VALUE in the program – if they actually enjoy it and have fun – they will spread the word and get involved.

Macomb County Staffers are True Survivors

Macomb County Government's very first "CARROT Survivor Challenge" was a record-breaking success.

“Survivor” is one of the many contests available to participants in a CARROT Health & Wellness program. Essentially, it’s a last-person-standing competition requiring participants to make their personalized activity goal each and every day to stay in the contest. Fall short one day and you’re eliminated.

Macomb County had a record 12 staff members still alive in the challenge when it reached its 60-day limit. The previous record for a CARROT Survivor was four finalists – and THAT was an incredible feat.

In keeping with the contest rules, a random drawing among the remaining contestants was held to determine the winner. The drawing winner was Terena Tubbs who works for the Macomb Community Action Head Start program.

Terena was a great example of the dedication demonstrated by each of the 12 finalists. When she began the challenge on March 1, Terena averaged fewer than 4,400 steps daily; she proceeded to make her personalized goal EVERY DAY for the next two months, regularly walking more than 10,000 steps daily by the end of the competition.

“At Macomb County, we were looking for a way to motivate our workforce to be more active and be able to monitor their daily activity along the way,” said Amy Lumetta, Service Partner in the Macomb County Human Resources and Labor Relations Department.  “We were able to find this with the CARROT app which also provided an added feature to reward employees after meeting their goals.”

Wanting to recognize the great effort made by each of the other finalists, Macomb County decided to award each a $5 gift card. Considering that most had accumulated more than half-a-million steps during that two-month period, the rewards were certainly well-deserved.

Congratulations to Terena and all of the finalists for their great accomplishment!

Healthstyles Logo Horz 6 26 14

CARROT Program Benefits People with Disabilities: Manual Wheelchair Users Can Compete, Earn Rewards with CARROT

Thanks to Apple's recent innovations and CARROT’s proprietary program, manual wheelchair users can now compete with all other participants in Survivor Challenges and in all other aspects of CARROT Health & Wellness.

“CARROT has always been about leveling the playing field and making it possible for everyone to fully participate,” said CARROT Founder and CEO Michael Antaran. “We've taken pride in CARROT being a truly inclusive program, so creating the opportunity for manual wheelchair users to compete on an equal basis for rewards was very, very important to us.”

Those using manual wheelchairs are rewarded for “pushes”, rather than “steps”, with goal coins and reward points earned by meeting daily personalized goals based on the user’s activity history. The user must select the “wheelchair” and “pushes” options in Apple Health, and the iPhone’s “Activity” app wheelchair settings must also be selected.

CARROT, introduced in January 2016, is an entirely new type of health and wellness program developed to help organizations create the conditions for real, sustainable change in the well being of its employees. Essentially, CARROT rewards users financially for meeting individualized activity goals.

More information about CARROT is available at http://CARROTwellness.com. To find the CARROT Wellness app on the iTunes or Google Play store, follow this link: http://onelink.to/carrot.

Tech Crunch’s Tito Hamze Looking Great in that CARROT Tee!

It’s not easy staying up-to-date in the ever-changing tech world, but Tito Hamze makes that challenge a lot easier (and more fun) with his nightly “Crunch Report” on TechCrunch.com. His April 27 update was particularly entertaining as he sported a highly-fashionable CARROT tee! (Looking great, Tito!!)

Catch Tito’s “Crunch Report” here. https://techcrunch.com/video/chinas-didi-chuxing-valuation-hits-50b-crunch-report/59026c2ac214e37210160f09/


HFHS: Walking the Corporate Wellness Walk

It’s our belief that most organizations sincerely care about the health and wellbeing of their employees. Of course, some choose to address wellness as an “obligation”, while others view it as “essential” – as essential as any product or service the company provides. At CARROT Wellness, we’re fortunate to work with many exceptional organizations who “walk the walk” when it comes the wellbeing of its staff members.

And Henry Ford Health System takes a back seat to no one.

HFHS has long had a well-earned reputation for its leadership role in community health. But for the past year, we’ve had a front-row seat to witness their daily commitment to corporate health and wellness. Nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and financial health only begin to scratch the surface at HFHS. The wellbeing of their employees is integrated into every organizational activity – it’s truly impressive.

One year ago, as a startup company looking for a toe-hold in the vast wellness universe, we could not have hand-picked a better partner and role model.

To the HFHS staff, we appreciate your trust, confidence and support this past year – and we look forward to helping you reach your employee health and wellness goals for years to come.


City of Royal Oak Using CARROT Wellness for New Community Walking Challenge

ROYAL OAK, MICH. – With the assistance of the free ‘CARROT Wellness’ mobile app, members of the Royal Oak community will be able to use their smartphones to participate in the inaugural “Mayor’s 50 Miles in 50 Days Walking Challenge”.

 “We’re excited that the City of Royal Oak is using CARROT for this great community program,” said Michael Antaran, Founder & CEO of CARROT Wellness. “We’re honored to be able to support our hometown.”
Mayor Michael Fournier and the Royal Oak City Commission are encouraging individuals and families to lead healthier lifestyles with the challenge that began on April 15.

"One of the things Royal Oak has in common with the most vibrant cities in the world is that it's very walkable," said Mayor Fournier. "This spring, I am asking you to 'step it up' and experience all of the exciting things Royal Oak has to offer on foot."

Once the app is downloaded from either the Apple (iPhone) or Google Play (Android) Store, participants are encouraged to sign in using either their phone number of Facebook. Users should also be sure to allow ‘Location Services’ to see the special “Royal Oak” screen where information, exclusive rewards and a “Walking Challenge Leaderboard” are available.
The “Royal Oak” screen is only visible to CARROT users in and around the City of Royal Oak.

The app can be found by searching “carrot wellness” on the app store, or follow this link: http://onelink.to/carrot.

CARROT Wellness is a mobile corporate health and wellness program that rewards participants financially for walking and meeting individualized activity goals. It was launched in January 2016 by CARROT Pass LLC of Royal Oak. 

In November 2016, CARROT was named the “Most Innovative Solution” to engage millennials with health care during the annual Crain’s Detroit Business Health Care Leadership Summit. CARROT’s first corporate wellness customers include Henry Ford Health System, Health Alliance Plan, the UAW, Oakland University and Macomb County Government.

CARROT’s proprietary algorithm allows all users – from marathon runners to manual wheelchair users – to compete equally for rewards, providing instant gratification for meeting personalized goals.


CARROT's Activity Screen

CARROT's Activity Screen

CARROT gives each participant a personalized “Activity Goal”, based on the user’s own activity history, which is updated daily. By walking and meeting personal activity goals, participants earn currencies that can be used to purchase rewards such as digital gift cards that are available right on the app.

CARROT has “gamified” health and wellness, including several fun features available to all users. With CARROT, there’s no need to purchase a fitness tracker – everything, including your steps data and rewards, is stored exclusively on your phone. The app doesn’t even have to be on or running to earn points. But if you already own a fitness tracker, CARROT accepts steps data from most popular devices including Fitbit.

More information about CARROT can be found at http://carrotwellness.com.


Sergio NOT the Only Masters Winner!

Sergio Garcia may own the green jacket, but 10 others claimed victory this past weekend.

In its first-ever “Versus” contest, CARROT Wellness staged a four-day competition for users of its fitness rewards mobile app.

“We only developed the contest days before the Masters, and we actually announced the contest less than 24 hours before the tournament began,” said CEO Michael Antaran. “Still, we had about one hundred contestants who followed the action all weekend long on our live leaderboard.”

Participants were asked to assemble a team of 10 golfers by making “Tinder-like” selections. The matchups included Jason Day vs. Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose vs. Danny Willett, and Phil Mickelson vs. Bubba Watson.

The Top Ten CARROT “Versus” finishers each won a $10 pre-paid Visa Gift Card and 250,000 CARROT Reward Points.

“It was great fun, and we’re looking forward to many more ‘Versus’ events in the future, including a fantasy football challenge!” said Antaran.

CARROT Featured on Special Tech248 Podcast (Listen Here)

Irene Spanos, co-founder of Tech248 in Oakland County, interviews CARROT Wellness Founder Michael Antaran in a special Tech248 podcast. Spanos also describes some new programs for Tech248 – trying to link the 2000 tech companies in Oakland County – including a program for high school kids to learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

To learn more about Tech248 and CARROT, listen to the podcast by clicking on https://soundcloud.com/podcastdetroit/m2techcast-episode-72.


CARROT Reaches Global Audience with Takeda in Europe

Takeda Pharmaceuticals spanned the globe, almost literally, looking for the best solution to run a new walking program for their employees in Switzerland and Finland. Ultimately, they determined that CARROT would be the best tool to keep their staff motivated and engaged.

“We came across CARROT while looking for an app that is simple to use. From installation, to daily usage, to evaluating results, CARROT has proven to be a great choice,” said Selim Cevik, Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and Consultant, Takeda Pharmaceuticals International.

“This is not only a great program, but a great team too, that has gone out of their way to make our corporate challenge fun, engaging and successful.”

CARROT users in the Takeda walking program competed in teams to meet as many daily CARROT activity goals as possible, with Takeda pledging 12,300 Swiss Francs to the charity selected by the winning team. Pictured is Takeda's Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and Consultant Selim Cevik presenting the donation to SOS Kinderdorf.

CARROT users in the Takeda walking program competed in teams to meet as many daily CARROT activity goals as possible, with Takeda pledging 12,300 Swiss Francs to the charity selected by the winning team. Pictured is Takeda's Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and Consultant Selim Cevik presenting the donation to SOS Kinderdorf.

CARROT CEO Michael Antaran met Cevik at the Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress (EHBC) in Washington D.C. last fall.

“It really began as a casual conversation,” said Antaran. “A couple of months later, Selim contacted me about using our program. He told me he had reviewed a number of other options, but he felt nothing would be as compelling and easy to use as CARROT.”

Cevik and the staff at Takeda were extremely happy with the results.

“I always got very positive feedback about your customer service. I was very pleased with the service, too,” Cevik said. “I personally think the app was good and it was the right choice. I could solve all issues myself and I think the majority of people, too.”

Study: Walk More to Lose Weight, Improve Mood

Independence Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in the Philadelphia area, conducted an interesting nine-month walking study last summer. (At least, it’s interesting if you’re the creator of an activity-based wellness program!)

The study included six groups. Three groups participated in a “standard walking program” that tracked the number of steps walked each day, biometric screenings at various stages, and resources such as flyers and posters to promote the importance of walking. The employers had the option to do as much or as little promotion as they wished.

The other three groups were assigned to an “enhanced walking program” that provided the same trackers, screening, and promotional resources as the standard group, as well as incentives, coaching, feedback, competitive challenges, worksite-specific walking maps, and monthly wellness workshops.

As you might have guessed, participants in the enhanced program averaged 726 more steps on a daily basis and were more likely to meet the 10,000 steps-a-day threshold than those participating in the standard program. What is more noteworthy is the fact that participants in BOTH programs who increased their steps by 1,000 per day lost weight: on average, 3.8 pounds for men and 2.1 pounds for women. Participants who walked more also reported improved moods and better overall feelings about their health.

CARROT Users: 20,000 Purchases (and Climbing!)

“Black Friday”, “Small Business Saturday” and “Cyber Monday” are familiar to most shoppers.

Perhaps “CARROT Wellness Wednesday” should be added to the list.

This past Wednesday, CARROT Wellness users surpassed the 20,000-mark in total purchases on the free app.

“This number is staggering, far exceeding our wildest expectations,” said CARROT CEO Michael Antaran. “When you consider that it took less than 11 months to get this kind of traction, it’s really unbelievable.”

The CARROT Health & Wellness program was made available on the Apple and Google Play stores in January 2016. Purchased items include digital gift cards, physical goods, exclusive discounts, and entries into free prize drawings.

“We’re humbled by the support and enthusiasm we’ve received from users in our first year,” Antaran said, “and it’s driving us to add new, even more engaging features in the months and years ahead.”

CARROT Wellness can be found on the app store here.

CARROT Bowl: Everyone’s a Winner!

It all started in 1902 with the Rose. Then came the Sugar, the Orange, and the Sun.  Now, 115 years later, it’s time for the CARROT.

The CARROT Bowl, that is. 

And unlike these other “invitation only” events, anyone can participate in the CARROT Bowl – a new competition on the free CARROT Wellness app that rewards participants with bonus Reward Points for selecting the correct winner of various bowl games.

“We wanted to create a fun contest that would be free for everyone to play,” said CARROT CEO Michael Antaran. “It’s a way for us to reward CARROT users, a way to thank them for participating in our new program.”

The CARROT Bowl costs absolutely nothing to join. Not even your CARROT Reward Points are at stake!

The CARROT Bowl costs absolutely nothing to join. Not even your CARROT Reward Points are at stake!


The CARROT Bowl features each of the 27 bowl games played after Christmas. Users who correctly predict the winner of each game receive a designated number of bonus Reward Points. Participants will be able to follow their success on an in-app leaderboard, with the person with the most points receiving a Top Prize of 100,000 additional Reward Points!

“It’s free to play,” Antaran said. “As long as you have the free CARROT Wellness app, there’s no cost associated with any of this.” You can find CARROT on the app store.


CARROT Participates in U-M Student Program

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business recently invited CARROT to participate in its annual Venture Capital Investment Competition. This unique program allows MBA-candidate students to compete as members of fictitious VC teams in evaluating startup businesses. The students are coached by professional venture capitalists and members of the U-M faculty.

CARROT CEO Michael Antaran was one of three entrepreneurs asked to participate in the program.

“I’m so honored that I could help give these students a chance to gain some valuable real-world experience,” Antaran said. “I really enjoyed interacting with the students, the staff members, the VC’s and the other entrepreneurs. It was a great learning experience for everyone involved, myself included.”

The full-day program, hosted by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies in Ann Arbor, asked each business owner to make a 10-minute presentation and then conduct 15-minute meetings with each of the competing student teams.

“The students were very, very impressive,” Antaran said. “I feel like it’s my obligation to give back when I have these opportunities. I’m glad I could contribute.”