Health Management Resources

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Health Management Resources (HMR)
Industry Weight Loss, Weight Management
Founded 1983
Founder Dr. Lawrence Stifler
Boston, MA
United States
Key people
Len Tacconi, President
Number of employees
Parent Merck & Co., Inc.

HMR, formerly known as Health Management Resources, is a part of Merck & Co. that offers weight management programs that combine a structured diet, physical activity, and lifestyle-change coaching. It was founded as a separate company in 1983, and has provided its programs to U.S. hospitals, medical centers, provider groups, and health systems. More recently, HMR introduced a self-directed program that participants can access online with the option of coaching support by phone.

In 2013, HMR became a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. and is part of Merck's Healthcare Services & Solutions, an entity separate from the pharmaceutical business, which focuses on improving the healthcare experience for patients, providers, and payers.[1]

In 2017, U.S. News & World Report rated HMR the #20 Best Weight-Loss Diet [2] in their annual rankings of diet programs.

The HMR Behavioral Program

The HMR Behavioral Program enables participants to make lifestyle changes to lose weight and then maintain the weight loss. Specifically, the program helps participants learn ways to reduce fat in the diet, eat more fruits and vegetables, and increase daily physical activity. In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that all individuals with obesity (as defined by body mass index or BMI, a measurement relating weight to height, of 30 and above), be offered, or referred to, intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions, which include behavioral management activities (such as setting weight-loss goals), improving diet or nutrition and increasing physical activity, addressing barriers to change, self-monitoring, and strategies to help maintain lifestyle changes.[3]

HMR programs reinforce that the behavioral changes participants make to manage their weight also help for overall health management.

The HMR Diet

All HMR options use a diet of meal replacements (portion-controlled, packaged foods) to reduce food choice decisions.

Weight-loss plans

HMR offers a range of program options with varying degrees of structure. The most structured diet plan is only offered at an HMR clinic-based location and includes medical supervision and face-to-face group coaching. It is particularly suited to individuals with significant weight to lose or those with other medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other weight-related issues that require medical monitoring during weight loss. Individuals may also choose less structured options which can be done with or without medical supervision in a clinic setting. HMR also offers several “at home” weight-loss plans, one of which includes the option of phone-based group coaching.

All HMR Programs are divided into two phases:

  1. Phase 1 (weight loss): The goal is to lose weight quickly by replacing current meals and snacks with HMR foods (and fruits and vegetables on some plans) while beginning to incorporate regular physical activity.
  2. Phase 2 (weight management): Participants learn more strategies to manage their weight over the long term as they face "real world" eating challenges such as socializing, dining out, or traveling.

Program outcomes

In-clinic outcome data

There have been several published studies documenting the outcomes of the HMR Program. The clinic-based Decision-Free® Diet has the largest published weight losses ranging from 43 – 66 pounds in 12 – 26 weeks.[4][5][6] Two studies have reported on weight losses of 100 pounds or more [5][7] with the average weight loss over 130 pounds. The clinic-based Healthy Solutions® Diet has reported weight losses ranging from 28 – 37.5 pounds in 12 – 26 weeks.[4][8][9]

Health Solutions at Home weight loss-data

Two randomized controlled trials on the Healthy Solutions at Home Program found that participants in the phone-based program (receiving weekly group coaching by phone) lost as much weight as those in a traditional face-to-face clinic.[9][10] In both studies, participants in the phone coaching program lost an average of 28 pounds at 6 months. Another randomized study found that participants using Healthy Solutions at Home without any additional coaching lost an average of 13 pounds in 12 weeks.[11]


  1. ^ "Merck Announces Launch of a New Business Focused on Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Weight Management Interventions in the U.S. | Business Wire". Retrieved 2016-11-09.
  2. ^ "U.S. News Ranks the 38 Best Diets of 2017". 2017-01-04.
  3. ^ Moyer VA, on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for and management of obesity in adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med 2012;157:373-378
  4. ^ a b Furlow EA, Anderson JW. A systematic review of targeted outcomes associated with a medically supervised commercial weight-loss program. J Am Diet Assoc 2009;109:1417-1421.
  5. ^ a b Anderson JW, Grant L, Gotthelf L, Stifler LTP. Weight loss and long-term follow-up of severely obese individuals treated with an intense behavioral program. Int J Obes 2007;31:488-493.
  6. ^ LeCheminant JD, Jacobsen DJ, Hall MA, Donnelly JE. A comparison of meal replacements and medication in weight maintenance after weight loss. J Am Coll Nutr 2005;24:347-353.
  7. ^ Anderson JW, Conley SB, Nicholas AS. One hundred-pound weight losses with an intensive behavioral program: changes in risk factors in 118 patients with long-term follow-up. Am J Clin Nutr 207;86:301-307.
  8. ^ Anderson JW, Reynolds LR, Bush HM, Rinsky JL, Washnock C. Effect of a behavioral/nutritional intervention program on weight loss in obese adults: a randomized controlled trial. Postgrad Med 2011;123:205-213.
  9. ^ a b Donnelly JE, Smith BK, Dunn L, Mayo MM, Jacobsen DJ, Stewart EE, et al. Comparison of a phone vs. clinic approach to achieve 10% weight loss. Int J Obes 2007;31:1270-1276.
  10. ^ Donnelly JE, Goetz J, Gibson C, Sullivan DK, Lee R, Smith BK, et al. Equivalent weight loss for weight management programs delivered by phone and clinic. Obes 2013;21:1951-1959.
  11. ^ Smith BK, Van Walleghen EL, Cook-Wiens G, Martin RN, Curry CR, Sullivan DK, et al. Comparison of two self-directed weight loss interventions: limited weekly support vs. no outside support. Obes Res & Clin Pract 2009;3:149-157.

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