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Speak Up: $1000 Bonus for Your Weight Loss Efforts

It is not uncommon for employers to penalize employees for their unhealthy habits, especially since word on the street says the cost of health insurance is going to rise in 2008. It was pretty unanimous across the board that negativity and threats are not ways to get employees to be healthy, but what about $1000?

Apparently Agora Inc., a Baltimore based corporation, has spent $90,000 for a 12-week weight loss program modeled after NBC's Biggest Loser (my favorite show, yay!). Employees have the option of working with personal trainers during classes at the company's gym or having unlimited access to a local gym. The Agora gym has free weights, cardio machines and weightlifting equipment in an exposed-brick decor. The reward: A $1,000 prize for the top "losers" in male, female and team categories. Pretty cool, but I can't help but wonder what the incentive is for all the employees that are already healthy. It sort of reminds me of when my parents would give my D-student brother money for getting B's on his report card while mine was already strung in A's and I got zilch. Ah, but I digress...

Would a $1000 reward get you to lose the extra weight? Is this program unfair for the already healthy folks who don't need to lose weight? Speak Up and share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Spectra Spectra 9 years
Our company did a "Biggest Loser" contest once. It was based on teams, so whichever team lost the most would win. They didn't give us any real incentive to win though...I think the winner got a $25 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods or something. I ended up not doing the challenge because I really can't lose any more weight, but I think it would've been nice to have a bonus or something for being already in shape.
BeautifyMyLife BeautifyMyLife 9 years
My boss is a fitness nut, so does a lot to encourage us to be healthy too. The company pays part of a gym membership for anyone interested, and my boss just started a bike club and bought bikes for anyone who didn't have one and wanted to join. Plus, he has had several "weight loss challenges" with cash prizes. I think it's so smart - a healthier employee is a better employee.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 9 years
I reeeeeeally like that gym rebate idea! And I don't mind this contest being only for "unhealthy" people. It's a contest and it has rules, just like anything else. Life is hardly ever "fair," and if you're already healthy you don't need the push that these people do. Plus wouldn't the contestants have to start spending a lot of money on healthier food, workout clothes, etc? I say just be happy for them and encourage them in their efforts.
Pir8Liz Pir8Liz 9 years
My company did something similar- Biggest Loser competition, but they certainly didn't invest in trainers. That would have been fantastic.
susanec susanec 9 years
The gym rebate is a much better idea. I'm at the low of end my weight range and already have a gym membership (plus I live in an outdoorsy state) but it'd be nice to have the membership reimbursed.
longhorn longhorn 9 years
My company did this too for for a few years - a 12 week fitness challenge during the summer with the reward. We were allowed to follow whatever program we wanted though and they didn't set up a gym (we had one already in our building). I won one of the years :-) that $1K was nice...makes you work extra hard when there's a reward like that. I can see where people might think this benefits people that aren't healthy, but the last year one of the healthiest (and skinniest) people won our contest...because she toned up, gained strength, etc. With our contest it wasn't about a how much you lost, it's about lifestyle change. You even have to write an essay. They also offer a $30/month rebate if you go to the gym at least 8 times/month and we have a Weight Watchers at work program that is really popular. I love that they promote being healthy.
mugsymay mugsymay 9 years
It seems like the benefit for those who are healthy would be the company paying for your gym membership for the 3 months of the program and really that alone would make me pretty happy. Any incentive to get people to exercise seems like a good idea to me...I may not win but I would love to spend my gym membership money on something more fun as my reward!
UTnikki81 UTnikki81 9 years
I'd worry this would inspire people to do crash diets and practice other really unhealthy ways of losing weight.
webbedkitty webbedkitty 9 years
I'd lose 20lbs. for $1k.
krock19 krock19 9 years
Oh I like workofiction's idea! I think that is a much fairer approach. Plus - I think its actually a more healthly approach. Its better to maintain a healthy weight than yo-yo weight gain/loss. But I think overall - money would be best spent ensuring healthy food is available to employees as well as making it easy to work out. I think a lot of us work at places where we are some what chained to our desk and its hard to eat healthy unless you bring in your lunch. Plus, it is difficult and expensive to fit working out in our schedules. I know I make it a priority, but some people have so much going on or so many expenses that hitting the gym or a taking a class is too tough. So I think its great the company is offering those perks - regardless of the Biggest Loser stuff.
workofiction workofiction 9 years
What if a company offered their employees a bi-annual bonus just for having a bmi in the healthy weight range?
7kimba7 7kimba7 9 years
I think that it's great to motivate those who aren't taking care of themselves... but yes, that's really not fair to people like me who are already on the ball.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
That isn't fair to those who already are fit and healthy. I agree that I would love it if the City I work for gave me a perk, but it's not fair to everyone. As it is, my lovely boss recognizes my efforts and compliments me on loosing weight often. She has stopped offering me treats, recognizing that I am trying really hard, and that is the best perk of all!
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