MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — Northern Westchester Hospital considers itself committed to encouraging healthy behavior in its employees, and in the spring it called on the raw competitive spirit of its staff for a nine-week, no-holds-barred fitness competition.
More than 300 employees making up 29 teams participated in the hospital’s “Move It to Lose It” initiative, which pitted them in a weight-loss battle against 1,200 employees from sister hospitals within the Stellaris Health Network.
But the competition was not just about weight loss, Kerry Flynn-Barrett, Northern Westchester Hospital’s vice president of human resources, said in an Aug. 9 statement.
“It was about camaraderie with colleagues and getting people moving or moving more,” she said. “While weight loss programs work for some staff, 'Move It to Lose It' was designed to get staff to exercise in the way that they enjoy.”
The challenge kicked off in April and culminated on June 27.
“And of course, we sweetened the pot a bit,” said Flynn-Barrett. The competition’s grand prize winners received their choice of tickets to a Yankees game or a Broadway performance.
In the end, two teams tied for first place and got to celebrate at Yankee Stadium at a home game. The winner was determined by the total number of steps taken, which were tracked by pedometers given to employees, and the percentage of weight lost by the end.
The two winning teams were the Astros, who walked 11,851,570 steps and lost 2.9 percent of their body weight, and the Yankees, who walked 13,057,061 steps and lost 1 percent of their body weight.
Collectively, Northern Westchester Hospital employees walked the equivalent of 91,218 miles, according to the hospital. The total number of steps taken by participants across all hospitals was 578,528,595.
In addition to this year's new fitness competition, Northern Westchester Hospital tends to employee health by offering biometric screenings, health risk assessments, wellness coaching, smoking cessation programs and nutritional counseling.
Joel Seligman, the hospital’s president and CEO, said Northern Westchester Hospital’s goal of improving and protecting the health of individuals in the community begins with its own staff members.
“We are overjoyed at the response and levels of participation,” he said of the fitness program. “Community health and wellness is a continued focus and we plan to keep up the momentum.”