Weight-loss contest creating buzz at OHA
News Release from OHA Feb. 22, 2013
Nearly 20 percent of employees at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are participating in a voluntary weight-loss competition that is part of a broader effort to encourage active living and healthier eating in the Hawaiian community.
(Editor's Note: What they aren't telling you is that people with obesity and/or diabetes are going to lose out big under the Hawaii Health Exchange and the 'Pay for Performance' plans being negotiated between Hawaii hospitals and Hawaii Insurers.)
Participants in OHA’s “Biggest Loser” challenge are eligible for an estimated $540 cash prize.
The 17-week weight-loss competition got underway Feb. 1 with such activities as walks at lunch, hikes on weekends and group exercises in OHA’s office tower stairwell. Weight-burdened employees are also planning to share healthy recipes as well as to organize an after-work volleyball tournament.
OHA is engaging employees in wellness activities at a time when the organization has made curbing obesity among its top goals for the Hawaiian community, citing statistics that show 75 percent of its beneficiaries at risk of being overweight.
In response, OHA unveiled more than a year ago a health initiative aimed at significantly reducing the obesity rate among Native Hawaiians by 2018. The initiative calls for OHA to work closely with a number of community partners to play an important role in shaping nutrition and fitness habits among Hawaiians across the state.
Already, OHA plans to award in the weeks ahead an estimated $800,000 in grant money to non-profit organizations with marketable programs designed to combat obesity and promote active lifestyles in the Hawaiian community.
In addition, OHA launched a public-relations campaign in December that emphasized the benefits of good nutrition and physical activity in TV commercials, public-service announcements in buses as well as in movie theaters across the state.
“But a necessary first step of the health initiative was to engage OHA employees in activities like weight-loss competitions, which would help connect them emotionally to our goal,” said OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamanaʻo Crabbe. “The more connected they are, the more likely they are to be ambassadors for our efforts to combat obesity -- one of the greatest threats to the health of Native Hawaiians.”
For more information about OHA's health initiative, visit www.org/health.