What Is Noom?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Published on: Dec 8, 2017

Designed by a team of health coaches, nutritionists, licensed medical doctors, and clinical exercise specialists, Noom’s customized, clinically proven,16-week courses promise to help you stop dieting and reach your long-term weight loss and health goals.

The company knows that sticking to a plan is hard, which is why their proprietary behavior change programs were developed by world-class experts in psychology and motivation to help you maintain your drive and experience meaningful, lasting results. In fact, after working with more than 45 million individuals over the past 10 years, Noom tells us that:

  • 84 percent of users complete their program
  • 64 percent lose five percent or more of their body weight
  • 60 percent maintain this weight loss for one year or more
  • 83 percent of diabetics control their glucose, with a 73 percent overall reduction in the risk of diabetes

To start living a healthier life, you just need to sign up for an account and set your goals, complete targeted activities with your professional health coach and personal goal specialist, and track your progress along the way.

If you sign up for a Noom membership, will you find their system easy to use? Even then, can you really expect it to deliver meaningful—and perhaps more importantly, lasting—weight loss? These are only a couple of core questions we’ll help you answer here.

The Basics of Weight Loss

While it’s reported that the old calories in, calories out adage is an overly simplistic way of looking at weight loss and gain, it still plays a primary role in the process. How?

In a nutshell, if you consume more calories than you expend through daily living and recurring exercise, this excess will be stored by your body in the form of fat, inside specialized cells called adipocytes. If this surplus continues for long enough, it can lead to weight gain.

On the flip side, if you consume fewer calories than your body expends on a regular basis, you'll lose weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control, consuming 500 fewer calories than your body uses each day we result in about one to two pounds lost per week.

With these basics in mind, how does Noom help you create a calorie deficit, as well as stick with it over the long term?

Taking a Closer Look at How Noom Works

1. The Initial Sign-Up

If you’re interested in signing up for a Noom account, you’ll visit their website and start by entering how much weight you want to lose, your height and current weight, age range, and gender.

Then, you’ll indicate how healthy your current lifestyle is (needs work, have some healthy habits, mostly eat well and stay active), and whether or not you’re at risk for conditions like heart disease or stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, kidney disease, and so forth.

Next, what do you think is your biggest challenge when making healthy choices (time, temptations, support, don’t know where to begin, etc.)? Which situations are most likely to trigger unhealthy habits (stress, social events, unwanted emotions, eating out, etc.)?

What’s the best way the course can help (balance all your responsibilities and make healthy choices, find a long-term solution, learn how to navigate your environment, etc.)?

Based on these answers, Noom will create a unique plan to help you reach your weight loss goals. However, you’ll still need to choose a membership term (more soon), indicate which aspect you want to focus on first (nutrition, physical activity, building good habits, etc.), and any physical limitations, dietary restrictions, or food allergies you might have.

Finally, confirm that you’re able to dedicate at least 10 minutes each day to Noom and reaching your goals, and you’ll receive access to:

  • A full customized plan that can help you learn about bad habits and how to beat them.
  • Unlimited access to a health professional that can provide “psychological strategies that give you the confidence to easily avoid temptations”
  • 24/7 personal and group support for when things get tricky
  • Award-winning app available for iPhone and Android devices

We’ll talk more about this app in just a moment, but let’s first discuss the programs you’ll have access to after completing the membership sign-up process.

2. Noom’s Programs

Noom currently offers two 16-week programs: Healthy Weight and Diabetes Prevention. Both use lifestyle intervention techniques to empower participants to reach their goals by maintaining “healthy eating patterns and physical activity habits, and foster[ing] the skills they need to navigate their social environment and overcome barriers.”

The Healthy Weight program also addresses other aspects of wellbeing, such as sleep and stress management, while the Diabetes Prevention program specifically focuses on helping users lose seven percent of their body weight.

Each Noom course is broken down into three stages:

  1. Foundations – Here, you’ll take a look at what your course has in store, learn some healthy living basics, and cover topics like nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and stress, and how each of these lifestyle factors influences your health and wellbeing.

  2. Practice Your Skills – Next, you’ll take this information and apply it to your lifestyle using tools and practical skills that can help you overcome your barriers, handle triggers, change the way you think, and build new habits. These include practicing eating in social situations, shopping for healthy foods, increasing your activity levels, managing your stress, and maintaining mindfulness.

  3. Master Your Habits – Finally, you’ll further expand your knowledge by learning strategies to stay motivated and overcome plateaus, master the skills you’ve practiced, and create plans for long-term success.

Both programs also include structured curriculum delivered via daily content, such as 1-3 articles about weight loss, nutrition, physical activity, and so forth; 0-2 interactive challenges to develop healthy habits, along with “dynamic weekend content relevant to a users' demographics, interests, and behaviors.” They also both involve:

  • Weekly weight logging
  • Daily food logging (including feedback about food choices) and exercise logging
  • Calorie budget and tracking
  • Tracking steps with a pedometer
  • Virtual groups
  • Messaging with coaching team

Let’s find out exactly how you’ll go about this.

3. Bringing It All Together: The Noom Coach App

After completing the membership sign-up process on Noom’s website, they’ll send you a text message with an activation link, allowing you to download their app. This will act as your central hub, where you’ll log food/meals/calories, exercise, blood glucose, blood pressure, and weight.

Noom App Exercise Log & Weight GraphNoom’s app allows users to track different types of exercise (left) and time spent exercising (middle), as well as a reference a weight graph.

Noom App Meal Log & RecipesNoom members can also track meals and snacks, browse healthy recipes, and view nutrition information in advance.

The mobile app will also sync with and gather data from hundreds of devices (Fitbit, Garmin Connect, Jawbone UP, Polar, Runkeeper, etc.), even across multiple devices and users.

Using in-app messaging and group discussions, this is where you’ll keep in touch with your coach (one to two times per week, on average) and goal specialist (can provide personalized support based on your needs and goals, the food and exercise you log, the articles you read, etc.) as well.

Noom App Coach MessagingNoom’s multi-functional mobile app is where members will message and interact with their Health Coach and Goal Specialist for customized support. Credit: Noom, Inc.

Together, Noom indicates they’ll help you create a path forward and provide the support and encouragement you need to succeed.

The company tells us that all data submitted through the website and app (e.g., logged meals, weigh-ins, exercises, etc.) is securely protected using TLS encryption.

How Much Does Noom Cost?

All new Noom members are eligible for a free 14-day trial. However, you’ll need to choose one of the following options during signup:

  • Monthly: $59/mo
  • 2-Month Plan: $49.50/mo
  • 4-Month Plan: $32.25/mo

Once your trial has ended, you’ll immediately roll to your chosen plan and pay the associated fee, which will automatically renew until you cancel.

During checkout, we also had the ability to add a customized workout plan ($49), meal plan ($79), or both for $79. If you choose any of these options, your card will be billed immediately, while you’ll still have 14 days before being charged for the program itself.

Noom’s FAQ emphasizes that after the free trial ends, any related charges are non-refundable. If you cancel mid-term, you’ll still have access to the app—including your Goal Specialist, group, and course—until the end of the billing cycle.

Customer service can be reached at (800) 910-7375, programsupport@noom.com, or via their site’s contact form.

What Can We Learn From Noom Customer Reviews?

On TrustPilot, 24 customers had given Noom an average rating of two stars. Of the positive reviews, common compliments referenced ease of use, effective weight loss, useful information, and friendly coaches that helped maintain motivation.

On the other hand, frequent complaints revolved around less-than-stellar customer support experiences (specifically, difficulty canceling memberships), and dissatisfaction with course material. In several of these instances, a company representative responded in an effort to come to a resolution.

Writing for Food and Nutrition Magazine, Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD felt that Noom provided a lot of benefits (the ability to easily log information, set reminders, keep calories in view, and integrate with services like HealthKit and GoogleFit), although because calories are always in view, she felt it might not be ideal for “those seeking a non-diet approach to healthy living.”

In the end, she concluded that, “Noom is a good starter app for logging meals and tracking activity. However, without an active (paid) coaching course, the app offers limited value beyond tracking the numbers.”

Between iTunes and Google Play, nearly 170,000 customers provided their feedback about the Noom app, collectively giving it an overall average rating of about four stars. Most seemed to appreciate its usefulness, tracking, and motivational support from coaches, although complaints typically referenced bugginess, customer support issues, and limited feedback from coaches.

From a company perspective, Noom, Inc. is based out of NY, NY and has been in business since 2014. They held a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on more than 50 closed complaints, as of 12/7/17. No details were available.

Noom was co-founded by President Artem Petakov and CEO Saeju Jeong. Previously, Artem worked as co-founder and CTO of WorkSmart Labs and a software engineer/tech lead for Google, while Saeju worked as a steering committee member for the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of South Korea, as well as a networking administrator for L.C. Tek, Inc.

Are There Other Lifestyle-Intervention Weight Loss Courses & Apps Like Noom?

Before answering this question, it will serve us well to quickly take a look at Noom’s underlying approach.

Lifestyle Intervention & Weight Loss

In the Medscape article we linked to in the ‘Programs’ section earlier, Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, was quoted as saying:

“A very short list of lifestyle practices has a more massive influence on our medical destinies than anything else in all of medicine. There's almost nothing in all of medicine that has the vast, consistent, and diverse evidence base.”

As such, despite its fancy-sounding name, the central goal of lifestyle interventions is to help individuals learn and implement healthy practices that can reduce instances of chronic disease—and all of this in a way that no pill could ever hope.

The article goes on to cite several clinical studies indicating a correlation between lifestyle interventions and effective weight loss. But like most other weight loss programs, they emphasize that there are still high dropout rates, which is why there are so many different methods of shedding pounds.

Noom vs. MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, Omada, Rise, 8fit, & LifeSum

If you’re looking for an iOS or Android app that combines all the same features as Noom (personalized lifestyle- and- habit-based plans, dedicated coaching/goal support, food/calorie/exercise tracking, group messaging, etc.), there aren’t a whole lot of options. Here were some of the most popular at the time of our research:

Company Membership Price Unique Features
Noom $32.25-$59/mo, depending on length Lifestyle intervention-based, personalized plans, dedicated coaches/support, group messaging, connect to fitness trackers
MyFitnessPal Free (calorie counter only) Automatically calculates calories based on food and weight—calorie counter only
Lose It! Basic: $0; Premium: $3.33/mo Personalized weight plan, daily calorie budget, food (including the ability to scan barcodes and take pictures) and exercise tracking, connects to fitness trackers, guidance and support from community
Omada $120/mo Behavior change program focused on weight and chronic disease reduction, includes smart scale for tracking, food tracking via pictures or quick descriptions, track steps w/phone, health coaching and feedback, personal challenges and support
Rise Subscription plans as low as $20/week or $60/month; In-app private coaching purchases listed between $14.99 and $89.99 Personalized plans and coaching (including challenges), meal tracking via photos, accountability-based, integrate steps and exercise
8fit $25 every 3 months/ $60 annually Customized programs and meal plans, exercise focused on high-intensity workouts (5-15 min sessions), in-app shopping lists, coaching
LifeSum As low as $2.62/mo Nutrition advice, personalized diets, healthy recipes, habit tracking, different diet plans (low carb, keto, high protein, etc.) available, feedback and support

Of these, Omada and Rise seemed to be the closest to Noom, although Omada was priced meaningfully higher, while (at about $60/mo) Rise was on the upper end of Noom’s spectrum.

How can you decide whether or not these (or other) programs are your best option, and whether or not their price will deliver a solid level of value? We’ll address this point as we wrap things up.

Our Final Thoughts About Noom

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, choosing a safe and successful weight loss program starts with talking to a healthcare professional. If necessary, be sure to write down important questions in advance, and be open and honest about your struggles and goals. A few they recommend:

  • What is a healthy weight or BMI for me?
  • Will losing weight improve my general health, as well as specific health problems I have?
  • Could any of my medical conditions or medications be causing weight gain or making it harder for me to lose weight?
  • Are there any types or amounts of physical activity I should not do because of my health?
  • What dietary approaches do you recommend I try or avoid?

If your doctor gives you the green light, the article notes that effective weight loss programs should combine behavioral treatment, ongoing feedback and support, slow and steady (i.e., realistic) weight loss goals, and a plan for keeping it off over the long-term—all of which seem to be present with Noom.

When it comes down to it, though, every weight loss journey is intensely personal. But if Noom doesn’t meet your needs or preferences (motivational or otherwise), the company provides new customers with the ability to try their service for free for 14 days, so you might not have much more to lose than a bit of your time.

See Also: 7 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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11 Consumer Reviews for Noom

Average Consumer Rating: 2.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 0 4 star: 2 3 star: 3 2 star: 4 1 star:  2
Bottom Line: 27% would recommend it to a friend
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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    An app for making sustainable lifestyle changes - designed by psychologists

    • Spokane, WA,
    • May 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have found Noom Coach to be a fairly complete support system for making permanent lifestyle changes.

    Noom includes food, exercise, and weight tracking, a discussion forum led by a coach, as well as a private coach that checks in about once per week.

    On top of that, it spoons out information in bite-sized increments that are based on nutrition, and perhaps more importantly, on psychology. If you read them, they basically teach you what we know about how habits are formed, how/why they work and how you can alter them to your benefit. They also teach you how to break down and alter your own thoughts about food, your body, and your health, so as to support good long-term solutions.

    I have found it to be a great tool for me. I've been using it for nine months, have lost and kept off 35 pounds, am stronger and feel better than I have in a decade and a half. I don't see myself ever going back to the old ways of treating myself...this way feels so much better.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Nope

    • Kansas,
    • May 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The coach would only answer questions half the time. They have red light, green light, and yellow light foods, but they don't give you a list unless you ask or search. They have shrimp listed as both a green food and a red food. The quizzes are dumb. If you have done any research into weight loss, you already know all those things about food triggers and social eating. I had been doing a Whole30 cleanse when it popped up on my newsfeed, so I gave the free trial a shot. They were not compatible (so also not compatible with a Paleo diet). I gained 4 lbs once starting, and canceled after 10 days. It's crap. The free version of MyFitnessPal and planning ahead work as well or better. Save your money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Okay, but not worth the price tag

    • Pennsylvania,
    • May 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I did the free trial of Noom and did find the food tracker and self-help articles to be good. I lost 3 lbs, which felt like a success. I really like the caloric density model of food logging, and it helped to never feel deprived.

    However, I didn’t continue after the trial because the goal specialist wasn’t anything special. As other people have said, I never knew when she would be available, I waited hours or days to get a response, she didn’t provide any actual advice, and I too wondered if she was a bot. The few messages I got were very cut-and-paste, which makes me think these coaches have way too many clients each.

    The most disappointing: I noted in my survey on day one and in a message to my coach that I have an injury that means I can’t exercise for a few weeks. There was no personalization for this (I had a step goal to reach with a broken toe!), and my coach took days to get back to me. For $59 a month, I’d need a lot more one-on-one, personalized contact.

    I’d recommend paying that to see an in-person nutritionist or fitness trainer once a month to help you develop real goals that are custom to your actual life.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 16 out 18 people found this review helpful

    This is how they do business.

    I emailed the company on May 07, 2018:

    Leslie suggested I reach out. I was charged yesterday for the renewal of $129 and so I missed the cut off by hours. I was also charged $69 for a personalized "work out" plan and "eating plan." They didn't seem personalized at all. But I suppose they are probably system generated based on inputting items from the phone interview. I just don't feel like Noom will work for my lifestyle and was willing to pay the $69 but to be charged an additional $129 for a service I canceled several hours too late is extremely frustrating. For myself that I didn't cancel it yesterday and for others who have made the mistake of canceling too late. I would request to be refunded the $129 and I will immediately delete the application and close my account.

    Thank you.

    Powered by UserVoice.

    On Tue, May 8, 2018 at 8:44 PM Rebecca Collins wrote:

    Hi there!

    Thank you for contacting Noom Support. We are sorry to see you go! Unfortunately, our refund policy does not allow us to provide refunds for cancellation requests made after the 14-day free trial. I checked your account and was unable to locate a cancellation request before your trial officially ended (please see our cancellation FAQ for more information).

    You will continue to be able to access your Program features until the end of your subscription time but I have made sure your subscription expires after this billing period.

    Please see our refund policy in this FAQ and in our terms and conditions for more information.

    We apologize for the inconvenience and wish you a wonderful rest of your day.

    Very best,

    Rebecca Collins

    Noom, Inc. (www.noom.com)

    Noom | WELLNESS INTELLIGENCE

    We want to hear how Noomin’ has been for you! Email us your story anytime: inspire@noom.com

    How did I do?

    But it wasn’t a 14-day trial. I paid $69, So I paid almost $200 for a useless 14-day service. I think it’s more than fair to cancel my membership and offer me at least a partial refund given the circumstances of the message to Leslie literally hours after I was charged the $129. Regardless of policy, it’s just the right thing to do. This unwillingness to compromise with people, not just customers but people, is a testament to the type of company Noom CHOOSES to be and further justifies my original decision to part ways.

    They claim to be the “new Weight Watchers,” but the reason they have been so successful is because they have the human factor. The moral compass to go beyond the terms and conditions asses real-life situations and do right by people. Noom should be disappointed.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    No personal experience

    I'm on day four of Noom, and all I've received are platitudes. I can get these for free on Facebook.

    The pedometer doesn't work well. It doesn't log steps on circular stairs, for instance, and I have 43 stairs I used multiple times every day. The calorie counts are suspect, too, though fairly easy to use.

    I've tried canceling, but still no interaction. At least I'm not paying for it, yet.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Greatly disappointed

    • New Mexico,
    • May 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up knowing (and announcing) that I have an autoimmune disease, was facing surgery, and was at the time out of the country. I immediately began receiving group notifications from the "coach," who didn't know anything about SLE or my physical limitations. There was some confusion about "online" versus "app" usage; I'd thought there was an online aspect, only to learn that everything's on the phone app. That's not really convenient for me.

    Following my surgery, which was over a month ago, I've yet to receive any communication from the "coach," and nothing on the app is customized for me. Yes, I've lost nearly 10 lbs, but that's from the surgery (hiatal hernia repair), and because I'm not yet back to a full normal diet, so I'm taking in far fewer calories.

    I'm very disappointed, the "calorie recommendation" and "exercise recommendations" are very cookie-cutter, and have nothing to do with my allergies, food sensitivities, lifestyle, or age. And not one word from the "coach." I'm now looking to cancel the membership.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 17 out 18 people found this review helpful

    Suits me perfectly

    I am a lifetime dieter and have tried many diets. Noom is the first program that supports building new habits for a lifetime (not doing something extreme, or eating someone else's "food" so that you can't exist in the real world).

    I am not a person who likes in-your-face coaches. I am not a person who necessarily excels at group participation either. I was highly skeptical, but did the two weeks anyway. That was all it took. I'm learning more about the psychology of my overeating and my weight than I would have imagined. I am able to apply everything they are doing. I'm six weeks in, and I am still connected with my coach the way that I WANT to be connected. And there is no pressure from the group on how much you share. The weight graphing, and the food logging (AND the coach) keep me appropriately accountable and are excellent because I am a visual learner.

    Someone mentioned the articles are childish and overrun with hashtags. I am older and I appreciate that they are light reading, backed by facts and the hashtags (definitely not from my generation), make it fun and a little silly, which makes what you're reading stick with you better, by the way.

    I've received everything Noom said it would deliver so far, including the weight loss, but even beyond the pounds, I feel healthier, and more in control of my choices and lifestyle. There's something somewhere for everyone, Noom is the right thing for me.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 28 out 32 people found this review helpful

    Needs improvement

    It really is not as personal as they describe. You do not have a coach or group to check in with as they say you will. No one to talk to and set up your goals with. You can track your food and weight daily and get great diet tips; you can do all of this with FREE online weight loss sites/apps. I would have paid the $149 for 6 months had I had all of the extra support they claim to have, but there was none.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 24, 2018

      Angela Irene Engbrecht

      This is inaccurate. I've only been doing Noom for three days, so I don't feel comfortable leaving a full review yet, but what this review says is not true. There are coaches, and so far (even though it's only been a short amount of time) I've had the coach ask me about myself, prompt me to set goals, and answer a question that I had. Maybe this person wasn't sure how to access these features (although it's pretty straightforward), as it's simply not true to say that they don't exist.

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  • 30 out 32 people found this review helpful

    Starts well then crashes and burns

    • Michigan,
    • Apr 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up for four months. First two weeks were free. Lots of encouragement and participation. You can drop it, but once you're in for 14 days, your card is charged. After the first two weeks, I was in, and I saw the coaches start to not commit to their end of the deal. After two months, the program sort of ends and you get random stuff like "how did you sleep?" Instead of programs designed to help you change your patterns. I seldom even log in anymore. My "personal" weekly coach hasn't contacted me in almost a month. And 1200 calories a day can be pretty restrictive long term. It does focus on calorie density, which is great. But it's definitely not worth the money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 53 out 54 people found this review helpful

    Don't do it!

    While I started out enthusiastic, thinking cool, I can text someone if I am having a hard day or if I need motivation. My experience was quite the opposite! My Noom coach said, "I will be in touch Tuesday..." Crickets. It was not until Friday, when I asked her a question that I had any contact with her. Even after that text her reply was "oh, my bad, that was my fault." Then when I told her I needed more accountability and she asked if I would like to be set up with an exercise program? I said that would be great...crickets again! Save your money and download a free calorie counter app and just start walking on your own!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 19 out 22 people found this review helpful

    It is NOT a personal program but it has some perks

    I am like a lot of people and have been thinking of trying an online diet/nutrition program for a while. Noom seemed to have what I wanted and offered add-on services of a personally-designed meal and workout plan.

    I dived right in with the program. I also paid the additional $69 for the personal meal and workout plan.

    The app is great! It allows me to weigh in each day, tracks my steps (only when I have my phone) and log my meals. All of these things are what set Noom apart from other apps. YEAH!

    The meal and workout plans were another story. They are very generic and were not personalized to me at all. They did not give me anything more than I could pull from the internet. They did not give me meal plans, as I would hope. So, save your money and excitement.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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