Voting Begins Today on the Season Long Health Challenge


(New York – May 7, 2012)The Emmy® Award-winning, critically acclaimed and nationally syndicated "The Dr. Oz Show" today proudly announced the top ten finaliststo earn a spot in the show’s season-long initiative,Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation: Million Dollar You. Beginning today, viewers can vote on which finalist they feel should win the grand prize of $1 million by going to winner will be announced on “The Dr. Oz Show” scheduled to air on May 23rd.

Since the health challenge launched on September 26, 2011, Over 1.2 million people have registered for the seven step program that transforms their overall health. The steps include weight loss, knowing family health history, sleep hygiene, stress reduction, fitness and forming a relationship with their doctor. The 1.2 million registrants answered questionnaires and quizzes at the conclusion of each step, and a weigh-in with Weight Watchers required at the start and finish of the program.  Through a partnership with Weight Watchers, registrants entered their starting weight through a complimentary weigh-in at a Weight Watchers center, and also recorded a final weight in the same manner. People were required to lose 10% of their body weight or reach or maintain a healthy BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.

Seven judges poured over the submissions of the top 50 contestants after an algorithm identified those with the highest scoring value.  The group of 50 was required to submit a personal narrative essay describing their personal transformation, motivation and detail of their experience. The seven judges were:

Best-selling author and meditation expert Dr. Deepak Chopra, talk show host Rachael Ray, Center for Disease Control deputy director Dr. Ileana Arias, fitness trainer Jorge Cruise, Weight Watchers Leader Liz Josefsberg, sleep physician Michael Breus, M.D., and  Dr. Vonda Wright. 

The finalists are:

1.       Stephanie Lewis-Woodbridge, VA

2.       Mercedes Moebuis-Hampstead, MD

3.       Karl Nielsen-Rochester, NY

4.       Stella Ortega-South Lake Tahoe, CA

5.       Michael Lamb-Athens,GA

6.       Sheila Haines-Sterling, VA

7.       Dawn Villaneuva-Eva Beach, Hawaii

8.       Sharona Sankar-King-Manhattan, NY

9.       Jen McElroy-Pingree Grove, IL

10.   Mary Ellen Brunaugh-Vancouver, WA

The winner will be selected through a voting process that goes from May 7 thru May 13, 2012. Viewers will vote on “The Dr. Oz Show” website ( where they can read personal stories, and watch videos of the finalists. Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation: Million Dollar You will culminate in a grand finale where one winner will be awarded the $1 million prize on the May 23 episode of “The Dr. Oz Show.”

“Let America draw inspiration from these spectacular individuals who are sharing their personal stories of transformation so that others may see what is possible,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. “While we made the contest as exciting as possible with a million dollar prize, the finalists that underwent the most impressive transformations weren’t motivated by money, but rather a desire to reclaim their health and be around longer for their loved ones.”

 “The Dr. Oz Show” partnered with Weight Watchers–ranked #1 best plan for weight loss in 2011 and 2012 by U.S. News & World Report – to help registrants lose weight.  Weight Watchers was an obvious choice for a weight loss program partner because of the scale and infrastructure of the organization.  Anticipating sign ups exceeding one million participants, “The Dr. Oz Show” had to direct participants to an easy to find, easy to follow program that was also familiar, scientifically sound and medically respected. 

Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation: Million Dollar You was powered online by the show’s partner, Sharecare, who is committed to getting America healthy.  In addition to the Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation: Million Dollar You interactive program on Sharecare, participants have access to trusted health and wellness information, helpful tools, and real-time community interaction with each other and with thousands of health experts including physicians, nurses and trainers – all designed to help everyone live their healthiest life.  Sharecare is a company founded and owned by Harpo, Sony Pictures Television, Discovery Communications, Dr. Oz, and Jeff Arnold, which also powers the robust website for “The Dr. Oz Show.”Each step in the Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation: Million Dollar Youprogram has its own curriculum and evaluation criteria – all of which is managed in the online program.


A short synopsis of the sevensteps that the ten finalists followed include:


TELL A FRIEND: The show asked all Americans to enlist their friendsbecause we know you cannot go at it alone. Studies show folks who lose weight in groups keep their weight off and are more successful in the long term.

WEIGH IN WITH WEIGHT WATCHERS AND CALCULATE YOUR BMI: Learn the importance of your Body Mass Index. If you don’t have a healthy BMI, we asked participants to lose 10 percent loss of body weight or reach and maintain a healthy BMI, which correlates to a drop in risk to type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. The first step in calculating your BMI was to go to a local Weight Watchers center.  There, participants found out their starting weight.  During the initiative they received a complimentary weigh-in, and were invited to stay for a meeting. If they liked what they heard, they were invited to join Weight Watchers and become a member.

CONNECT WITH YOUR DOCTOR: Nearly 1/3 of all Americans don’t see a doctor every year. We encouraged participants to start a relationship their doctor so they could have an honest conversation abouttheir weight before it becomes a bigger problem. Know the questions to ask your doctor and find out the right numbers to talk with them about, including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose. Having a relationship will help you prevent future illness. If participants didn’t have a doctor, we encouraged them to seek out their pharmacist who could help get the conversation going.

LEARN YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH HISTORY: One of the critical tools a doctor uses to diagnose illness and recommend preventative care is your family history. Knowing your family’s health history enables you to get life saving screenings before it’s too late.  “The Dr. Oz Show” web site ( offers unique web tools powered by Sharecare to help participants fill out their family history and compile all critical information.

GET MORE SLEEP: This step taught Americans to get at least 30 more minutes of sleep a night by going to bed a half-hour earlier. We know that lack of sleep is ahidden factor of weight gain.

ASSESS YOUR STRESS: Everyone must understand how stress is a key factor in weight gain, and learn new and practical ways to manage their stress better. Stress can affect the neuroendocrine system, resulting in abdominal fat, for example: indirectly stress is linked to the consumption of too many fatty or sugary foods and inactivity.

START NEW FITNESS HABITS:Something as simple as a brisk walking for 30-60 minutes, five times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by about 40 percent. The web site provided contestants with various fitness resources.


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE U.S. STATES AND D.C. (EXCLUDING MAINE), 18 YEARS (OR AGE OF LEGAL MAJORITY) OR OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Entries must be received by 4/9/12. For Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions visit Sponsor: Sharecare, Inc., 3280 Peachtree Rd., Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30305. 


Dr. Oz won his second consecutive Emmy® Award for outstanding informative talk show host at the 2011 Daytime Emmys. “The Dr. Oz Show” won its first Emmy® Award for Best Informative Talk Show in 2011.  “The Dr. Oz Show” debuted in 2009 with the biggest ratings in nine years in daytime television and maintained impressive ratings throughout the season. “The Dr. Oz Show” is distributed in 112 countries worldwide.

Dr. Oz has served as health expert on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" since 2004, sharing advice with viewers to help them live their best life from the inside out. Dr. Oz has co-authored six New York Times Best Sellers including "YOU: The Owner's Manual", "YOU: The Smart Patient", "YOU: On a Diet", "YOU: Staying Young", "YOU: Being Beautiful" and “YOU Having a Baby” as well as the award-winning "Healing from the Heart". He has a regular column in TIME Magazine, AARP and O The Oprah Magazine.  He is also the host of a daily talk show on Sirius XM Radio's "Oprah Radio."

Dr. Oz is vice-chair of the Department of Surgery and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University. He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and performs 100 heart operations annually. His research interests include heart replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, complementary medicine and health care policy. He has authored over 400 original publications, book chapters, and medical books and has received several patents.

Cleared in over 99 percent of the country, "The Dr. Oz Show" is co-produced by Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures Television (SPT) and distributed by SPT.  "The Dr. Oz Show" is executive produced by Mindy Borman; Amy Chiaro is co-executive producer.  The show is filmed in front of a studio audience in Studio 6A in New York's legendary Rockefeller Center.



Harpo Studios produced the number-one-rated, award-winning, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and continues to create original TV programming for primetime, syndication and cable television, including for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.  A joint venture between Harpo and Discovery Communications, OWN debuted on January 1, 2011, as a multi-platform media company designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives.  OWN is available in approximately 85 million homes and the venture also includes the award-winning digital platform,  Included among the original programming developed and produced by Harpo Studios are OWN’s “Oprah’s Next Chapter”, “Master Class”, “Lifeclass” and “Super Soul Sunday”.  Harpo Print, LLC and Hearst Magazines publish the monthly O, The Oprah Magazine publication, while Harpo Films is dedicated to high-quality scripted dramatic programming, and Harpo Radio, Inc. produces Oprah Radio on Sirius XM Radio (XM Channel 111 and Sirius Channel 204).




Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry's leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment around the world and for every platform: broadcast and cable television, first-run and off-network syndication and digital distribution. In addition to one of the industry's largest libraries of feature films and television shows, SPT boasts a current program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. Internationally, SPT is a leader in local language productions around the world, some of which are co-produced with local partners, and sells SPE-owned formats in approximately 70 countries. To better serve its clients and partners worldwide, SPT maintains offices throughout the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the People's Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. SPT's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in SPE's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with 120 channel feeds, which are available in more than 142 countries reaching more than 500 million households worldwide. SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE's premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT owns Dutch entertainment company 2waytraffic, production company Embassy Row and Sony Movie Channel, and is a part owner of cable channel GSN, new 3D channel 3net, FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service, and national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT advertiser sales is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT's syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses in the United States. SPT ( is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.


Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world’s leading provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds over 45,000 meetings each week where members receive group support and learn about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and physical activity. provides innovative, subscription weight management products over the Internet and is the leading Internet-based weight management provider in the world. In addition, Weight Watchers offers a wide range of products, publications and programs for those interested in weight loss and weight control.

(1) Wang YC et al (2011) Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK, The  Lancet, v. 378, i. 9793, p. 815 – 825

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