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Great Job: Healthy Workplaces

By Lambeth Hochwald, Joyce Hendley, Sylvia Geiger, M.S., R.D., "Great Job," May/June 2007

Eating well at work has never been so easy or delicious, thanks to innovative employers like these.


North Olmstead, OH | Moen

Motivating Healthy Competition

At many workplaces, competition between co-workers generally has to do with revenues and responsibilities—and mostly benefits the corporation’s bottom line. At Moen, a kitchen-and-bath-fixtures company in North Olmstead, Ohio, colleagues engage in contests that cultivate teamwork and support—and result in measurable health improvements for individual employees.

Lose Big To Win. Before there was the reality-TV show The Biggest Loser, there was—and still is—Moen’s “The Fat Bowl Incentive Program,” an eight-week competition in which four-person co-worker teams compete to lose the most weight. In its ninth season, the annual contest boasts impressive participation rates. (This year, 18 teams—that’s 72 employees in a company of only 500—competed.) “Employees really get into it,” says Gina Palmieri, program manager of Moen’s Wellness Center. Participants earn points for meeting goals, such as exercising for 30 minutes, three times a week, and logging what they eat into food diaries. This year, the winning team lost a total of 45 pounds— and won gift cards to Dick’s Sporting Goods. (And most contestants finished with trimmer, healthier bodies.)

Healthy For The Long Haul. Recognizing that most people don’t became overweight suddenly but gradually gain a few pounds each year, Moen’s Wellness Center sponsors “Maintain Don’t Gain,” a program that focuses on helping employees stay within two pounds of their current weights for the entire year. Employees who opt in to this program weigh in once a month at the Wellness Center. Those who hold steady at their January weights and work out three times a week through the year’s end win a sweatshirt. To further promote healthful habits, the Wellness Center offers “Lunch and Learn” seminars that cover nutrition basics and stress-management techniques.

Friendly Fitness Facilities. Moen’s 2,500-square-foot Wellness Center contains cardio equipment including ellipticals, bikes, StairMasters and a full strength-training circuit. Ginny Farrell, 62, who is director of employee and management development and a breast cancer survivor, credits the center, in part, for the healthier lifestyle she’s adopted in recent years. “It’s so convenient for me to build exercise into my life because I use my lunch hour to work out,” says Farrell. “I’ve visited the wellness center 1,709 times since I started working here 11 years ago.”

Farrell emphasizes that the center isn’t just another gym. “There’s a huge camaraderie,” Farrell says. “We truly encourage each other. You meet co-workers on a different level. You build different relationships.”



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