Northern Trust staff sign up for £ for lb challenge

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has signed up for Business in the Community’s £ for lb 12 week challenge, hoping that their employees will collectively lose the weight of 27 average UK men.

The challenge, which is being supported by the Public Health Agency and Westfield Health, involves at least 500 employees from 20 companies across Northern Ireland taking part in a friendly competition to lose 12 – 24lb each in 12 weeks.

Damian McAlister, Director of Human Resources for the Northern Trust, said: “On a daily basis, our healthcare professionals and staff encourage patients and service users to have a healthy lifestyle and be proactive in their health. By taking part in this challenge we hope to lead by example and, at the same time, offer employees support and encouragement in their bid to lose weight.”

Across the Northern Trust area, 138 staff are taking part in the challenge hoping to collectively lose between 120 – 230 stone. Participants are provided with materials to support them and are weighed on a weekly basis.

Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency explains: “Obesity continues to be one of the most important public health challenges facing Northern Ireland. Its impacts are wide-ranging and the financial costs are high. According to the Future Choices report, ‘the cost to the economy in the UK is predicted to rise to £50 billion a year by 2050’ and in a NI Health Survey in 2011/12, it showed that ‘more than 3 in 5 adults in Northern Ireland are either overweight or obese’.“

Tanya Kennedy, Workplace Director, Business in the Community adds: “Workplace as a setting has a huge potential for beginning to tackle these issues. There are considerable benefits to the organisation by having a healthier, fitter and more engaged workforce and by helping employees begin to tackle their weight, responsible employers are contributing to overall societal benefits for Northern Ireland. Contributions to great local charities brings an added corporate responsibility bonus to the business.”

Lorraine Milne from Westfield Health explains: “The weight of 27 average UK men is approximately 357 stone. That’s a considerable amount of excess pounds that people are carrying about unnecessarily. Through the £ for lb challenge, we aim to help employers inspire their employees to kick-start lifestyle improvements that will improve long-term health and wellbeing through healthy nutrition and regular exercise.”

This work-based weight loss programme aims to encourage employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle by participating in a twelve week programme. The challenge is supported by Westfield Health and the Public Health Agency under the umbrella of the “Choose to Live Better” campaign.

The overall results will be revealed in May.

3rd February 2014

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