At FirstHealth of the Carolinas, employees help patients get healthy every day. Through the employee health initiative, FirstFit, it’s FirstHealth’s goal to provide programs and resources for employees to make sure they are taking care of themselves as well.
One of these programs is the Biggest Winner Corporate Challenge—a team-oriented competition among FirstHealth employees to lose weight and become healthier.
The 2019 Biggest Winner challenge started with the formation of four-person teams, often from within work units.
As they followed their chosen weight-loss regimen, team members had weekly weigh-ins and reported their numbers to their team captain, who then shared the results with health education specialist and Biggest Winner coordinator Kristen Cook of FirstHealth community health services.
Weekly cash prizes went to three individuals with the greatest percentage of weight loss.
The six-week challenge began February 18 and ended March 25 with 108 participants representing Moore Regional Hospital and its Richmond and Hoke campuses. As with other FirstFit initiatives, the Biggest Winner Corporate Challenge was conceived with employee health in mind.
“Between the demands of home and work, keeping our bodies healthy through wise food choices and exercise can take some time and effort,” says Cook. “The Biggest Winner challenge is a way to spark excitement and motivation for employees to focus on their health and make lifestyle changes that last well beyond the six-week challenge.”
At the end of the Challenge, the team with the greatest weight-loss percentage won a trophy and each team member received an individual prize.
The top-performing team, The Determinators, lost 8.62 percent of its members’ original body weight. In addition to their trophy, team members Ceara Earp, Josh Earp, Daniel Bower and Shari Brigman received $100 gift cards to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
According to Cook, the social influence of the team-based challenge is what makes this weight-loss challenge so successful.
“Teams often provide motivation and a support system that helps employees lose more weight than if they attempted to lose weight on their own,” says Cook.
Team support was especially important for the first-place Determinators. According to team captain Ceara Earp, administrative assistant, and fellow team member Shari Brigman, information systems help desk analyst, it is motivating “to have someone in your corner as an accountability partner to help keep you on track.”
Earp also found it important to celebrate successes together.
“We learned that any amount of weight loss was progress no matter how small,” says Earp. “I think this type of mentality kept us going strong during this challenge.”
The combined amount of weight that the 27 four-person teams lost was 622 pounds. Average pounds lost by each team was 23 pounds, and the average percentage lost by each team was 2.7%.
According to Cook, the challenge is meant to be a “jump start” toward long-term change.
“FirstHealth Community Health Services offers a number of programs that focus on lifestyle change through physical activity and healthy eating,” adds Cook. “These programs are free to the community as well as FirstHealth employees. We encourage employees to take advantage of these programs to continue the success they’ve obtained through the Biggest Winner Challenge.”
FirstHealth Community Health Services offers healthy living programs in Moore, Montgomery, Hoke, Richmond and Lee counties. Topics include healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco cessation and chronic disease self-management. To find a program near you, visit www.firsthealth.org/healthyliving.
Courtesy feature photo: FirstHealth’s Biggest Winner Challenge Winners, “The Determinators,” from left: Josh Earp, Ceara Earp, Shari Brigman and Daniel Bower pose with their team trophy and various prizes rewarded from winning the corporate-wide challenge.