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Author's profile photo Susan Galer

It’s Not Too Late to Get in Shape for Summer: Companies and Employees Grapple with Weighty Questions

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/small0709_a_wh_fitness_1847_209470.jpgWith summer just around the corner, many people are accelerating their fitness programs to lose weight so they look and feel better. For all the self-motivated, well-disciplined gym rats out there, there are countless others who need a little push (or coercion) in the right direction. Solutions abound from both employers and the business community at-large, offering everything from friendly support and cool technologies to programs that reward and punish. Here are a few of the latest offerings for consideration.

  • Don’t let anything get between you and your fork: For complete peace of mind that you’re tracking how much you eat, pick up the HAPIfork, billed by HAPILABS as the world’s first connected fork that will transform your relationship with food. After every meal, just plug the fork into a computer to see how fast you’re eating and get pointers on how to slow down. HAPIfork is currently seeking backers on Kickstarter. The first 2,500 people can get the fork for $89. Those interested in being in the first commercial batch can pick one up for $99.
  • Take the flight of shame. In an unprecedented move, Samoa Air became the first airline to charge passengers by weight. Its “pay what you weigh” policy is intended to keep airfares “fair” and not charge passengers for excess baggage. The CEO of the small island airline says he hopes the policy will raise awareness of Samoa’s obesity problem.
  • Get healthy or pay up. According to a Wall Street Journal article, Michelin North America will no longer award its workers automatic $600 credits toward deductibles, along with extra money for completing health-assessment surveys or participating in a nonbinding “action plan” for wellness. Now, the company will reward only those workers who meet healthy standards for blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and waist size—under 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. Employees who hit baseline requirements in three or more categories will receive up to $1,000 to reduce their annual deductibles. Those who don’t qualify must sign up for a health-coaching program in order to earn a smaller credit.

I’m game for just about anything that helps me stay in shape. I hired a personal trainer towards the end of winter, hoping to jump-start building strength and endurance for golf season. Eight weeks into it, I’m amazed at how much more energy I have, especially on evenings after a work-out. In fact, as a writer, my creative muse has never been stronger. My employer, SAP, is committed to create a healthy culture that supports the highest levels of engagement, creativity, and productivity. SAP’s Business Health Culture Index (BHCI) is based on the notion that there’s a direct link between the health of employees and the company’s ability to innovate and ensure a successful future. No doubt legal battles can’t be far behind as other companies start rummaging around in everyone’s refrigerators. Meantime, I’ve already hit the fairway with promising results. The beach can’t be far behind.

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