Thomas Menino

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As Menino Recovers, City Enlists Weight Watchers For Cut-Rate Memberships

You don’t need an M.D. to figure out that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino isn’t well. He’s been diagnosed with diabetes and also suffers from Crohn’s disease; he was recently hospitalized for a month “after cutting short a vacation in Italy because of a respiratory infection,” the AP reported.

While in the hospital, the 69-year-old mayor “suffered a compression fracture in a vertebra in his spine and also was treated for a blood clot that moved from his leg to his lungs,” the AP says. “Dr. Charles Morris said that while Menino was hospitalized, doctors also discovered an infection in his back and diagnosed him with Type 2 diabetes.” Now the mayor’s in rehab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Menino’s battle with his weight has also been well documented. In his state of the city address in January, Menino vowed to lose two pounds a month as part of a city-wide anti-obesity effort. At the time he said: “Look, weight is an issue that many of us struggle with. But what is daunting on our own becomes doable when we work together. So my goal is to see all of us combine to shed a million pounds this year.”

To aid in that effort, the city announced today a new partnership with Weight Watchers that gives eligible Boston residents discounted memberships to the popular weight management program. Here’s much of the news release:

As part of Mayor Menino’s Boston Moves for Health initiative, Weight Watchers, a leader in weight management services that has helped millions of people worldwide, will work with Dorchester House Multi-Service Center, Mattapan Community Health Center, and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center to provide steeply discounted weight loss and weight management services for up to 1,000 qualifying participants beginning in January. Continue reading

‘Don’t Get Fat-Smacked!’ Boston Blitz Targets Sugary Drinks

Ever since my daughter’s second-grade class learned there were 16 teaspoons of sugar in a big glass of Coke, she refuses to touch the stuff. Now Boston mayor Tom Menino is aiming to have a similar effect, writ large, on the city’s youth.

From the Boston Public Health Commission:

As Boston prepares to phase out sugary drink sales in city-owned buildings, Mayor Thomas M. Menino today unveiled a hard-hitting public awareness campaign to get residents to reduce their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which he and public health officials link to rising obesity rates and its impact on higher health care costs.

The campaign, developed by the Boston Public Health Commission, targets parents and caregivers who often make grocery-buying decisions for the household, and teens and young adults who consume more sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and other sugar-sweetened beverages than any other age group, according to a new US government nutrition study.

“With the launch of this campaign, I’m asking all parents in the city of Boston to join me in taking responsibility for helping young people choose healthier foods and beverages. And I’m asking youth – especially teenagers – to take a leadership role among your peers and push them to make healthier choices,” Mayor Menino said. Continue reading

Menino Reaches Deal On Health Insurance

Mayor Thomas Menino today announced a deal with Boston’s public employee unions that could save the city about $1.5 million per month on health insurance costs, The Boston Globe reports, or up to $70 million over four years.

The deal, which still has to be approved by union members, has three key elements:

1. A 2.5 percent increase in the employee premium contribution, which will be phased in over a two-year period. This increase will apply to all active employees as well as to retirees who are enrolled in a non-Medicare health plan.

2. Plan design changes which will include: increasing pharmaceutical, office visit, and emergency room co-payments. The plan design changes also create a tiered office visit co-payment based upon whether the enrollee is utilizing the services of a primary care physician or a specialist.

3. A 1 percent increase in the retiree contribution to Medicare health plans that will go into effect at the end of the four-year period.