The glut of U.S. workers contending with obesity and other chronic health troubles is costing companies more than $153 billion annually in lost productivity from absenteeism, alone—a situation exacerbated by even more staggering productivity loss from the four-times more detrimental “Presenteeism.”
In seeking an effective solution to the problem, Corporate America has turned to innovative, outside-the-box competition-driven weight loss programs to better motivate employee groups to battle the bulge, realize greater success with their diet and fitness endeavor, and win financial rewards in kind.
Accordingly, HealthyWage.com, a purveyor of financial incentive-based weight loss programs and contests for both businesses and individuals, has seen client roster growth among companies, hospitals, health systems, insurers, school systems, municipal governments and other organizations utilizing its pioneering programs, including General Electric, , Oracle, Halliburton, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and others. These and other top-tier organizations successfully leverage the spirit of competition and cash rewards to improve staff wellness, more effectively compel men to lose weight, and, in promoting these organization-wide behavioral changes, boost their own bottom lines.
Losing weight in teams
To date, HealthyWage.com has executed its popular $10,000 Team Weight Loss Challenge and/or other of its novel “money motivation” diet and fitness programs, each as described below, for more than 800 client organizations throughout the United States that collectively employ more than three million employees, said David Roddenberry, CEO of HealthyWage.com. “This past year we’ve seen a trend of companies looking to compete against each other in weight loss challenges to better engage and excite the staff and, ultimately, more successfully achieve health and overriding fiscal program goals. The movement to compete against other organizations reflects the next trend in engaging employees in health and wellness initiatives.”
The following are just a few of the Company vs. Company weight challenges scheduled to start in January 2015
- Energy Industry Challenge: Company vs. Company challenge for Energy companies, including Phillips 66, and ConocoPhillips
- Wisconsin Health System Challenge: Challenge among health systems in Wisconsin, including Aurora Healthcare, Beaver Dam Community Hospital and Holy Family Memorial Hospital
- Get Lean in 2015, Savannah weight challenge:Challenge among companies based in Savannah, GA
For its part, in 2015 the Houston Independent School District (HISD) is rolling out its second HealthyWage-driven weight-loss challenge on the heels of the success realized with its 2014 diet competition initiative. The upcoming HISD program will offer staffers “4 for $40,” paying employees $40 if they lose at least 4 pounds a month over a 4-month period—a $160 top-end payout to those who lose the minimum 16-pound benchmark in safe and healthy 4 pound-per-month increments.
The Money motivation paradigm
HealthyWage currently offers two cash rewards-based diet programs that pay participants to successfully make healthy choices. With the HealthyWager, program dieters select 1) how much weight they want to lose; 2) how much money they want to invest; 3) how many months they want to lose weight. HealthyWage’s proprietary algorithm then tailors each player’s personalized weight loss wager to assure those most in need can benefit from a more lucrative financial incentive intended to help motivate, sustain and aptly reward the weight loss effort. The program proffers the best prize-to-bet ratios for players who are most in need of weight loss. Players can opt for prizes ranging from as little as $100 to as much as $10,000, and can choose weight loss goals as little as 10% and as much as 25% of their starting weight. Players may also choose the timeframe for achieving their goal–as little as 6 months to as long as 18 months.
In the $10,000 Team Weight Loss Challenge, participants compete in in teams of 5 for the greatest percentage of weight loss over a 3-month period. Each participant pays a $75 registration fee. The rules discourage unhealthful tactics by limiting the 12-week weight loss to 16.59 percent of starting body weight.
In order to participate in either challenge, players must provide two weight verifications–one at the beginning of their challenge, and one at the end–using one of 2 available methods: (1) participants may use HealthyWage’s Video Verification System or (2) they can visit their own doctor or one of HealthyWage’s professional partners—more than 5,000 health club, pharmacy and medical professionals that have a demonstrated interest in finding innovative and effective weight loss solutions such as that HealthyWage provides.