January is the time for New Years resolutions. One of the most common resolutions is a goal to lose weight. Year after year, people make a goal to eat better, exercise more, or finally get into those skinny jeans. For most, the self-motivation and resolve dwindle by mid-February. So, there is another option that might increase the incentive to lose weight.
“Dieting for dollars" is a common program utilized by employers to encourage workers to slim down. This workplace version of the Biggest Loser offers rewards to those who lose such as gift certificates or reduced health insurance premiums, additional vacation time or just cold hard cash.
This concept has become so popular, as many as one-third of American companies are participating, or have plans to begin some kind of similar incentive plan to coax their employees to lose weight. One hospital chain with an overweight workforce paid employees for wearing pedometers and walking as much as they could. The more the employees walked the more money they received, up to $500 a year. Half of the chain's employees signed up for the program and many workers report losing a significant amount of weight.
Not all programs have had this type of success, but it is a beneficial program for both employers and employees. Companies who opt into these programs often do so in the best interest of their employees, and with the added benefit of saving money on insurance premiums.
Employees who lose weight tend to be healthier, and therefore have lower healthcare costs. Employees who are in shape tend to work harder, have more energy, and are more alert at work. These are just a few of the benefits available to employers who encourage these types of programs.
For employees, losing weight can not only increase their life expectancy, decrease healthcare costs, and make them feel better, but they can win prizes doing it. For the competitive individuals, this program makes losing weight a competition and they can thrive on the thrill of winning. For others, the program provides a support network of fellow employees who are can help each other working together towards the same goal.
Weight loss is important for the health and wellbeing of any individual. Study after study has shown the detriment of weight gain, and the equal benefits of weight loss. If your employer has not suggested or implemented this type of program in your workplace, consider starting it yourself among fellow employees and build a support network from there.