I'm a big fan of NBC's "The Biggest Loser." I love the show's stories of triumph and redemption, and watching the contestants have a light-bulb moment when it comes to making lifestyle nutrition and fitness changes is inspiring.
But as the show begins its 11th season this month, it pains me that its producers still are able to find hundreds of thousands of people willing to try out for the show. And not only are there thousands of would-be participants, the ones who actually make the cut are larger than ever.
However, I realized that together, maybe we can do something about that. Judging from the number of e-mails I get from benefits professionals who have created their own version of "The Biggest Loser" at their workplaces, I'm guessing more than a few of you out there are fans of the show as well.
So then why not harness our inner Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper, produce some Biggest Losers and showcase them to inspire the EBN community and beyond?
January is when gyms pack capacity crowds full of people who have resolved to get fit and healthy - people who have said, "This year is the year." That's why I picked this month to announce that EBN will feature Biggest Loser success stories throughout 2011 in the magazine and on its new video/slideshow channel, BenefitsTV.
Show me your biggest and best workplace achievements in getting employees healthier, and I'll broadcast them to anyone and everyone I can. Your success stories don't just have to be about weight loss; I'll happily take triumphs of all forms - smoking cessation, lowered cholesterol and/or blood pressure, controlled blood glucose - but I especially want to highlight efforts to tackle obesity and diabetes.
That's because recent statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows that by 2050 one in three Americans will have diabetes, and nine out of 10 of the new cases will be linked to obesity. Obesity already is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States; diabetes, according to the CDC, is seventh.
(See EBN's cover story this month for more on efforts aid employees with diabetes.) Both conditions currently cost billions annually, and new research from UnitedHealth Group concludes that diabetes alone will cost the nation almost $3.4 trillion in the 10 years through 2020.
This is an "epidemic that is larger than breast cancer and HIV together," Deneen Vojta, a physician and senior VP at UHC's Center for Health Reform, told Bloomberg last November.
However, her colleague Simon Stevens, executive VP at the center, added "there is nothing inevitable" about the increase in diabetes.
All of this is preventable. As in, within our control to keep from happening. So, let's get started.
Send me 1,000 words, 10 minutes of video or both detailing your company or client wellness success story: What program or contest you implemented and why, how many employees and/or family members participated and the results you saw. Be sure to include employee testimonials and/or Before and After photos - those are the best part.
Written success stories and photos should be e-mailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org; send videos to me at:
Employee Benefit News
c/o SourceMedia Inc.
4401 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 910
Arlington, VA 22203
Feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Happy new year!
Send letters, queries and story ideas to Editor-in-Chief Kelley M. Butler at email@example.com.
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