120 Allstate employees joined forces with a total of 875 employees from 20 companies from across Northern Ireland to tackle their weight and change their lifestyles, supported by their employers under Business in the Community's £ for lb 12 week challenge.
Collectively, 6,645lbs (475 stone), the average weight of an Asian elephant or 36.5 average UK men was lost. The total number of weight inches lost was 1,390; 25 inches more than the height of the Albert Clock.
Celebrating this achievement at an event held in the Long Gallery at Stormont on Thursday 8th May, 100 participants heard from the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride who told the audience that obesity continues to be one of the biggest health challenge for people in Northern Ireland. Highlighting the dangers, he explained that being overweight can reduce a person's life expectancy by nine years and with 2/3 of the population overweight and ¼ obese. We need to make changes now.
Tanya Kennedy, Workplace Director, Business in the Community explains:
"Using the workplace is the perfect setting to tackle the obesity issue in Northern Ireland. This challenge has demonstrated the physical, emotional and social benefits of colleagues supporting one another to change their lifestyles—for good. Having the support from both the public sector through the Public Health Agency and the private sector through Westfield Health was key to the success of this initiative."
Mary Black, Assistant Director for Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement at the PHA said:
'Maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult, with so many forces in society making it easy to put on the pounds. The £1 for 1Lb challenge is an excellent example of practical support to help behaviour change in the workplace. Each of the participants has shown great commitment to getting on the path to better health and wellbeing. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing a range of health problems including heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. By making small changes in our daily lives, such as eating a healthier diet, improving our level of physical activity and watching alcohol intake, we can help maintain a healthy weight."
Lorraine Milne, Westfield Health's Northern Ireland Director, said:
"Westfield Health is delighted to have supported the £ for lb initiative aimed at improving employee health and wellbeing in the workplace. We congratulate the inspirational support of the 20 employers and all of the employees involved ably supported by Business in the Community & the Public Health Agency.
Well done to every employee who took part. It is particularly pleasing to see the combined efforts of companies and employees working together to benefit local charities. Westfield Health looks forward to continuing its support of this Business in the Community initiative."
The £ for lb challenge raised £15,049 for a range of Northern Ireland cancer and heart charities, which was kindly doubled by sponsors Westfield Health.
For more information on, visit www.bitcni.org.uk