Work Healthier Challenge Awards $18,000, Inspiring Healthy Results Statewide
Employer-supported health incentives are a hot topic as competitive wages, benefit packages, and health incentives are reviewed carefully by potential employees and are a major expense to the employer. Why should an employer choose to support and incentivize healthier lifestyles for their employees?
There’s a mutual benefit for the employer and its employees. Companies will have a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce while incurring lower health costs. Employees will improve their overall health, lower their risk for preventable chronic diseases, and develop lifelong habits.
Approximately 70% of Americans are overweight or obese, 23%–29% having metabolic syndrome (MetS). According to the American Heart Association, it is estimated that medical spending attributed to obesity was estimated to be more than $1,400 higher than normal-weight individuals. A company with 50 employees affected by obesity could cost an extra $80,000 per year in medical costs.
A proven study from ACAP Health shows that losing 5% of your body weight can reduce Metabolic Syndrome health risks by more than 50%, and research from the American Diabetes Association shows that losing 7% of your body weight can reduce the risk of developing Type II Diabetes by 58%.
With this knowledge in mind, some of Texas’ largest employers demonstrated their commitment to health by offering a new workplace wellness initiative to their employees called the Work Healthier Challenge. The 12-week weight loss competition, powered by IT’S TIME TEXAS and HealthyWage, is a turnkey, team-based health improvement challenge developed to reduce costly lifestyle health risks that lead to chronic diseases – such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
The first Work Healthier Challenge wrapped up on July 31st with Texans losing a total of 6,645 pounds. More than 25 Texas employers administered the Challenge to their employees. The sectors represented included school districts, major municipalities covering East, West, and Central Texas, hospitals and healthcare, energy, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, and technology.
During the Work Healthier Challenge, teams of five competed for the greatest percentage of weight loss between May 1st through July 31st. Each participant paid less than $25 per month as a registration fee, with no cost to the employers, for a chance to win cash prizes. The top-performing team won $10,000, second place won $5,000, and third place won $3,000.
Work Healthier Challenge Winners and Recognized Companies
$10,000 Tyler ISD (Droppin’ Pound Cakes)
$5,000 Dallas Area Rapid Transit (Dartlosers)
$3,000 TechnipFMC (2 Fat 2 Furious)
Texas Companies Recognized
Valley Baptist Hospital
Providence Health Waco
Team Droppin’ Pound Cakes from Tyler ISD took home the grand prize with 14.95% weight loss. Team Dartlosers from Dallas Area Rapid Transit were the runners-up with 14.49% weight loss, and Team 2 Fat 2 Furious from TechnipFMC came in third place with 13.58% weight loss.
“Participating in the Work Healthier Challenge from IT’S TIME TEXAS was by far the easiest decision I’ve made from a health and wellness standpoint,” said Corey Caskey, wellness specialist at TechnipFMC. “IT’S TIME TEXAS continues to improve the overall health of Texas and partnering with HealthyWage gave this challenge the ‘wow’ factor.” HealthyWage has created workplace wellness challenges for Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, health systems, insurers, school systems, and municipal governments throughout the United States.
The most common feedback received from participating companies was how easy the program was to administer. The turnkey promotional package and website along with HealthyWage’s support during the entire process proved invaluable to the busy client contacts.
Companies were also impressed with the success rate of the Work Healthier Challenge as compared to other internal wellness initiatives offered to employees. The Challenge encouraged participants to maintain their weight loss with financial incentives. Not only were teams competing for thousands of dollars, but HealthyWage is providing a full reimbursement of the participant entry fee if they lose 10% of their starting weight 6 months after the end of the Challenge. Participating employers were also provided with verified program data to gauge and showcase success.
“HealthyWage was extremely easy to work with, and they provided all of the resources needed for each company to be successful in this Challenge,” said Corey Caskey. “Not only did TechnipFMC lose a total of 1,112 pounds from our 87 participants, we also had the 3rd, 7th and 8th overall teams out of the 129 total teams in the challenge. We’re extremely happy with how our employees created a healthier lifestyle for themselves but more importantly, how well they worked together in order to reach their personal goals.”
The Work Healthier Challenge was the turning point for many people who hoped to make healthy changes but didn’t have the motivation to start. “Many of us know the theory of how to lose weight but we do not practice it,” said Carmen from TechnipFMC. “ I learned to shift my mindset about nutrition and physical fitness from a burden to looking at it as a rewarding type of personal care.”
Research has shown that social contacts and teamwork enhance weight loss outcomes. The team-based challenge is effective. Groups of five from each participating employer form teams and compete for the cash prizes. Since the team must win as a group, every member’s efforts count. The positive peer pressure and the drive to beat other teams add extra motivation. With a set start and end date, the Work Healthier Challenge eliminates the tendency to procrastinate or call it quits before accomplishing a goal. Team members encourage each other from start to finish and hold each other accountable along the way, enabling them to power through 12 weeks of consistent exercise and diet changes.
“Once the Challenge was announced, it was very motivating to change my ways, as I always felt tired, lazy and unhealthy,” said Dustin from TechnipFMC. “I feel healthier, more energized and motivated to keep the weight off. I thank my teammates for staying motivated and pushing each other through the entire Challenge, it really shows that anything is possible if we work together.”
Teamwork and incentive-based weight loss programs are proven effective, and the Work Healthier Challenge serves as a catalyst to improve health across the state of Texas. The 2018 Work Healthier Challenge will launch April 30th and run through July 30th. To find out how your workplace can participate in the 2018 Challenge, visit ittworkhealthier.org.