The Fitness Challenge Handbook

Designing The Challenge

Weight Loss Challenge

By far the most popular employee fitness challenge mode is weight loss. There are many reasons for its popularity but none greater than the rise in obesity rates in recent years. Couple these numbers with the breadth of maladies caused by being overweight and it becomes apparent that reducing the waistlines of workers will save your company in healthcare costs, absenteeism and performance.
There are however different ways to measure and compare a weight loss challenge. The most popular is to compute the percentage of weight loss for each participant and then award the challenge victory to the participant with the highest weight loss percentage. Use the following formula to compute weight loss percentage:
(1 – (Ending Weight / Starting Weight)) x 100
Another popular method for evaluating the winner of a weight loss challenge is to use the total weight lost. Obviously, this does not take into account the relative fitness of the participants and should be used with care since a 150 pound participant would have much less weight to lose than a 250 pound participant and the challenge could be viewed as unfair. A better method to use when evaluating challenge participants on the sheer number of pounds they lose is to set a number such as 10 pounds and state that anyone reaching that goal is a challenge co-winner. However, this is essentially an individual challenge and, for better or worse, reduces the competitive nature of the challenge.
On the negative side, a weight loss challenge will inherently disenfranchise a number of your physically leaner (but possibly not any healthier) employees with little weight to lose. For this reason, modes based on physical activity may be better for all employees than weight-loss.
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