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Study: Many Americans Say They Are More Likely to Participate in a Fitness Routine If Given Opportunity to Socialize, Earn Financial Incentives



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  • Third-annual UnitedHealthcare Wellness Checkup Survey provides
    insights into people’s knowledge and opinions about various health
    topics, including preferences about employer-sponsored well-being
  • People trying to improve their health prioritize a healthy diet,
    access to routine medical care, and stopping smoking or reducing
  • More than half of survey respondents said they expect to remain
    healthy enough to accomplish everyday activities until 80 or older,
    including 11 percent saying those tasks will “never” be an issue
  • Among employees with access to a well-being program, 57 percent
    said it has helped improve their health; of these, 27 percent said the
    program helped detect a disease or medical condition

MINNETONKA, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More than two-thirds of Americans say an incentive of as little as $2
per day would motivate them to devote at least an hour each day toward
improving their health, while nearly 60 percent of people say they would
be more likely to participate in a fitness routine if the program
offered an opportunity to socialize or make friends, according to a new
nationwide survey.

These are some of the findings from the 2019 UnitedHealthcare Wellness
Checkup Survey
, which examines people’s opinions about health topics
and preferences, offering insights to help improve employer-sponsored
well-being or disease-management programs. The survey’s key findings

  • Opportunities to socialize, earn financial incentives appeal to
    More than half (57 percent) of survey respondents said they
    would be more likely to consistently participate in a fitness routine
    if the regimen provided a social component, either in-person or
    virtually. Among employees with access to a well-being program, 67
    percent said it was important that their significant other or family
    members have the opportunity to participate, too. Across all
    respondents, more than two-thirds (68 percent) said an incentive of as
    little as $2 per day would motivate them to devote at least an hour
    each day toward improving their health.
  • Many people are optimistic about remaining healthy as they age. More
    than half (53 percent) of survey respondents anticipate being able to
    accomplish everyday activities until 80 or older, including 11 percent
    saying those tasks will “never” be an issue. Gen Xers – defined as
    people between 39 and 54 years old – were the most optimistic, with
    nearly three-quarters (74 percent) expecting to maintain their health
    beyond 80, including 15 percent saying health issues will never
    prevent them from accomplishing everyday tasks. However, one
    concluded that 42 percent of Americans 80 or older have
    functional limitations, such as the inability to walk a flight of
  • Healthy diet, access to medical care and stopping smoking top
    Survey respondents considered a healthy diet, such as
    eating fruits and vegetables, as the top priority when trying to
    improve their health, with a mean score of 4.5 (5 being “extremely
    important”). That was followed by access to routine medical care, such
    as an annual physical (4.4); stopping smoking and/or reducing drinking
    (4.4); getting sufficient sleep (4.3); engaging in strength or
    cardiovascular training (4.3); increasing social activity (3.7); and
    improving mindfulness (3.6).
  • Most people underestimate the connection between lifestyle choices
    and chronic conditions.
    About one-fifth (22 percent) of survey
    respondents correctly recognized that 80
    percent or more of the incidence of premature chronic conditions
    such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, are generally caused by
    modifiable lifestyle choices, such as risk factors like smoking or
    obesity, as opposed to being caused by genetic factors. More than
    one-third (38 percent) thought between 50 percent and 79 percent of
    premature chronic conditions were caused by lifestyle choices, while
    32 percent said genetics were to blame for more than half of these

“This year employers are expected to invest an average of more than $3.6
million1 on their respective well-being programs, and over 60
percent of employees2 are interested in engaging in these
initiatives. The UnitedHealthcare Wellness Checkup Survey
provides insights that we hope can be helpful to enhance the design and
implementation of well-being programs, which may help improve employees’
health, reduce absenteeism and curb care costs,” said Rebecca Madsen,
UnitedHealthcare chief consumer officer.

Many U.S. companies are investing in wellness programs, with more than
two-thirds (67 percent) of companies planning to expand these
initiatives during the next few years, according to a recent
by the National Business Group on Health. A separate
published in The American Journal of Cardiology concluded that
one employer’s well-being initiative generated a six-fold return on
investment and reduced health risks for people enrolled in the program.

Many Employees Say Well-being Programs Have Improved Their Health,

More than half (57 percent) of people with
access to wellness programs said the initiatives have made a positive
impact on their health. Of these, 82 percent said they were motivated to
pay more attention to their health; 63 percent said they increased
physical activity; 59 percent improved their diet; and 30 percent
reported improved sleep. More than one-quarter (27 percent) said the
program helped detect a disease or medical condition, while 8 percent
said they stopped smoking or using nicotine.

In regard to job performance among those who said the well-being program
made a positive impact on their health, 50 percent said the initiative
helped reduce stress; 49 percent reported improved productivity; and 35
percent said they took fewer sick days. About one-quarter (26 percent)
reported no impact on job performance.

Among employees without access to wellness programs, 70 percent of
respondents said they would be interested in such initiatives if
offered, including 43 percent who are “very interested.” More than
three-quarters (77 percent) of Gen Xers said they wanted access to a
well-being program, more so than any other age group.

About the Survey
The UnitedHealthcare Wellness Checkup
was conducted April 11-15, 2019, using the Engine Telephone
CARAVAN® survey among a landline and mobile phone probability sample of
1,000 adults ages 18 and older living in the continental United States.
The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percent at the 95 percent
confidence level. For complete survey results, click

About UnitedHealthcare
is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the
health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care
experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining
trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States,
UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for
individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and
contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care
professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide.
The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people
through owned and operated health care facilities in South America.
UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:
UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit
UnitedHealthcare at
or follow @UHC on Twitter.

1 National Business Group on Health, 2019

2 Rand Corporation, Incentives for Workplace Wellness
Programs, 2015

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Will Shanley
(714) 204-8005


Willow Biosciences Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results and Provides Operations Update




Willow Biosciences Inc. (“Willow” or the “Company“) (CSE: WLLW, OTCQB: CANSF) has released its financial and operating results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019.

“Over the past few months, Willow has continued to advance its business strategy and achieved several important milestones,” said Trevor Peters, Willow’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We have made meaningful progress on advancing our yeast strain performance and fully expect to meet our projected timing of scale-up development in the first half of 2020. In addition, we have completed the commissioning of our three labs and expanded our team of highly skilled scientists, preparing us for future development.  As the market for CBD and other cannabinoids continues to develop, Willow is positioned as a leader in delivering ultra-pure, pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids, at a highly competitive cost for the consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical industries.”

Selected financial and operational information is outlined below and should be read in conjunction with Willow’s unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements (“Financial Statements”) and related management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”) which are available on SEDAR at or on the Willow’s website at

Highlights for the Quarter:

  • Willow’s science team successfully increased cannabinoid production by 25-fold and identified hundreds of beneficial genetic changes that are expected to provide additional increases.
  • Willow ended the quarter with strong liquidity, including approximately $24.0 million of cash on hand at September 30, 2019.
  • Willow continued to build out our three labs in Calgary, AlbertaBurnaby, British Columbia and Mountain View, California, spending $3.2 million in capex in the quarter ($6.4 million year to date as of September 30th). With the bulk of our capital spending to set up our labs behind us, Willow continues to focus on advancing our yeast strain to produce ultra-pure, pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol (CBD).
  • In the quarter we moved into our new facility in Calgary, Alberta located in the Life Sciences Innovation Hub at the University Research Park. The 4,000 square foot secure facility employs cutting-edge bioassay capabilities, liquid handling robots, and analytical instrumentation, and leverages access to the University of Calgary’s plant cultivation resources and growth chambers.
  • Willow continues to progress its intellectual property portfolio and expects to file five new U.S. provisional patent applications and one Patent Cooperation Treaty “PCT” conversion (which will convert an existing provisional patent application to a U.S. PCT application), all prior to the end of 2019.
  • Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Company received its DEA Controlled Substances Registration Certificate for our Mountain View, California facility, which allows the Company to develop yeast strains which produce CBD.
  • On November 5, 2019, the Company commenced trading on the OTCQB® Venture Market under the ticker “CANSF”.
  • Willow’s directors and officers remain committed to the long-term success of the Company and since July 1, 2019, certain officers and board members of Willow have purchased approximately 1.5 million common shares and warrants of Willow in the market for aggregate proceeds of approximately $840,000.

Operational Update

During the past quarter, we have expanded our research and development team to 33 technical staff, including 21 Ph.D. level scientists, across our three sites. Our multidisciplinary team consists of plant scientists, strain engineers, analytical chemists and fermentation process engineers.  The team’s focus has now shifted from expanding its technical capabilities to program execution and operational excellence.  Our plant sciences team in Canada continues to advance its understanding of cannabinoid accumulation in C. sativa along with translation of these results in our yeast production host.  These results are further complemented by our high-throughput strain engineering capabilities in our San Francisco Bay Area labs to expand upon beneficial genetic diversity and further optimize our yeast strain toward commercial targets.  As a result of these combined efforts, we have increased cannabinoid production by 25-fold and identified hundreds of beneficial genetic changes that will provide additional increases.  These improved strains are now undergoing evaluation in fermentation tanks at our development partner’s facilities.  At our current trajectory, we anticipate delivering a strain for scale up development starting in the first half of 2020.

Financial Update

Willow ended the quarter in a strong financial position, with approximately $23.2 million in working capital and $24.0 million of cash on hand.

The Corporation’s financial results are summarized as follows:

Three months ended
September 30

Nine months ended
September 30





Balance sheet ($000’s):

Cash and cash equivalents





Total assets





Shareholder’s equity





Weighted average shares outstanding

Basic and diluted (000’s)





Year to date 2019 has been transformative for the Company. The transactions Willow has completed have had a significant impact on the comparability of the Company’s period over period results. See the Financial Statements and MD&A for further details.


Willow will continue to focus on developing and refining our yeast-based strains that biosynthesize CBD, optimizing our production levels and improving the performance of our processes. We expect to reach a scalable production level in the first half of 2020, triggering the initiation of Noramco, Inc.’s efforts to ramp up production, file regulatory submissions and develop marketing and distribution plans. The scaling up of production to commercial levels is expected to take 12 to 18 months, followed by regulatory approval for the manufacturing process and customer sampling during 2021, and first bulk commercial sales anticipated in late 2021 or early 2022.

Following our successful financings, Willow is well positioned to fund our operations to commercialization.

Willow continues to evaluate strategic relationships with various entities in the consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical industries. These partnerships will look to define our market participation and potentially gain entry into new global markets.


SOURCE Willow Biosciences Inc.

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OPSEU gives thumbs down to Ford’s attempt to fix cannabis debacle



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The Ford government’s latest reset of its disastrous decision to privatize cannabis sales is bound to make an already bad situation worse, says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

“What will it take for the government to understand that cannabis retail stores need to be operated by trained professionals?” asked Thomas.

Thomas can’t believe the Ford government is set to move to an “open allocation” system for issuing retail cannabis licenses as early as January that could result in over 1,000 outlets across Ontario.

“I can’t figure out why the Conservatives think it makes sense to continue on with this privatization disaster,” said Thomas.  “We need a Responsible Plan, the kind of plan the previous government had that would have put cannabis sales in the hands of the LCBO.

“Polls have shown us that Ontarians are 11 times more likely to trust the LCBO than private retailers when it comes to keeping cannabis out of kids’ hands,” Thomas added.

“This is a matter of public safety. LCBO stores have trained professionals who have the training and experience to handle sales of controlled substances.”

Over a year ago when the discussion around cannabis retail stores began, the Ford government made a number of promises – promises they are now breaking, says Thomas.

“They promised a tightly regulated system. What does this new plan involve? It involves flooding the market. How is that responsible? The second promise was to keep our kids safe. This doesn’t keep our kids safe.”

“Our members who operate LCBO stores are experts in responsible sales,” he adds. “They keep our kids and our communities safe because they are trained and qualified. They take social responsibility seriously.”

It’s time for Ford to give up trying to find solutions for a problem that doesn’t exist, says OPSEU First Vice President/Treasurer, Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida.

“The solution has been there in front of them all along,” says Almeida.  “How many failed attempts and half-baked ideas are they going to try?”

“First Mr. Ford hits us with a crazy lottery scheme that resulted in only a handful of stores operated by people as random as the process that selected them and now he just wants to open this up as a free-for-all? We need a clear and thoughtful plan, and the LCBO is the solution.”

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

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CannTrust Provides Default Status Report




CannTrust Holdings Inc. (“CannTrust” or the “Company”, TSX: TRST, NYSE: CTST) today is providing a status update in accordance with its obligations under the alternative information guidelines set out in National Policy 12-203 – Management Cease Trade Orders (“NP 12-203”), which require the Company to provide bi-weekly updates until such time as the Company is current with its filing obligations under Canadian securities laws. As previously announced, the Company is subject to a management cease trade order (“MCTO”) issued by the Ontario Securities Commission. The MCTO prohibits the directors and executive officers of the Company from trading in or acquiring securities of the Company until two full business days after the Company files an interim financial report for the three and six month periods ended June 30, 2019, an interim management’s discussion and analysis for the corresponding period and certifications of interim filings. The MCTO does not affect the ability of investors who are not insiders to trade in the securities of the Company.

Timing of Financial Results

Although the Company is continuing to make progress in working with its independent auditor in connection with its restated audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018, its restated interim financial statements for the first quarter of 2019, and its interim financial statements for the second and third quarters of 2019, together with the related management’s discussion and analysis for the corresponding periods, such financial statements are unlikely to be completed and filed before the end of the calendar year.

The Company advises that: (i) other than as disclosed above, there have been no material changes to the information contained in the Company’s August 16, 2019 news release, August 29, 2019 news release, September 12, 2019 news release, September 26, 2019 news release, October 10, 2019 news release, October 24, 2019 news release, and November 7, 2019 news release; (ii) it intends to continue to comply with the alternative information guidelines of NP 12-203; and (iii) except as previously disclosed, there are no subsequent specified defaults (actual or anticipated) within the meaning of NP 12-203.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian Securities laws and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other applicable United States safe harbor laws, and such statements are based upon CannTrust’s current internal expectations, estimates, projections, assumptions and beliefs and views of future events. Forward-looking information and forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “believes”, “expect”, “likely”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “intend”, “anticipate”, “potential”, “proposed”, “estimate” and other similar words, including negative and grammatical variations thereof, or statements that certain events or conditions “may”, “would” or “will” happen, or by discussions of strategy.

The forward-looking information and statements in this news release include statements relating to the corrective actions being taken by the Company, and Health Canada’s pending determinations. Forward-looking information and statements necessarily involve known and unknown risks, including, without limitation: actions taken in respect of the Company’s products by its customers and regulators; results of Health Canada’s investigation, including orders and compliance measures required by Health Canada and their impact on the operations, inventory, assets and financial condition of the Company; the Company’s implementation of remediation plans and related actions; regulatory approval; risks associated with general economic conditions; adverse industry events; loss of markets; future legislative and regulatory developments in Canadathe United States and elsewhere; the cannabis industry in Canada generally; and, the ability of CannTrust to implement its business strategies.

Any forward-looking information and statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and, except as required by law, CannTrust does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for CannTrust to predict all such factors. When considering these forward-looking information and statements, readers should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements in CannTrust’s Annual Information Form dated March 28, 2019 (the “AIF”) and filed with the applicable Canadian securities regulatory authorities on SEDAR at and filed as an exhibit CannTrust’s Form 40-F annual report under the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on EDGAR at The risk factors and other factors noted in the AIF could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking information or statements.

The TSX and NYSE do not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

SOURCE CannTrust Holdings Inc.

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