BT workers are ten tonnes lighter this morning thanks to the Forum's ground-breaking weight reduction project.
Designed to help workers improve their health and fitness and increase their life expectancy, the BT Work Fit campaign, which the Men's Health Forum helped design and deliver, was the UK's biggest workplace health programme and the world's largest online company lifestyle programme.
Over a period of four months, it resulted in 4,400 BT employees losing 10 tonnes of weight between them, an average weight loss of 2.3 kg.
But this was not just about helping their workers, BT also had a very clear business case for their action: the fact that it was losing one employee every two weeks to a heart-related illness.
More than 16,000 of BT's 100,000 employees signed up for the programme last year, of whom 4,700 were chosen to take part..
Peter Baker, Chief Executive of the Men's Health Forum, said: 'We were keen to get involved because of the importance of reaching male staff as well as female with this sort of programme, not least because 75 per cent of BT people are men. The workplace can be an ideal setting for engaging men in health initiatives and we also felt that a programme delivered largely online and with an element of competition could be particularly attractive to male employees.'
The programme gave participants the option of taking part as individuals or as members of teams that competed against each other online. More than 500 teams took part. Free kitbags were handed out, containing pedometers, tape measures and information in a booklet designed in the Haynes' car manual format. Over sixteen weeks, a series of simple lifestyle and diet changes, together with moderate exercises, were worked through
A dedicated work fit intranet site included access to nurses signed up by the Men's Health Forum to act as lifestyle advisers, answer e-mail questions and provide dietary and fitness advice and other health information. Individuals were sent weekly activity programmes and tips for help in lifestyle improvements, such as information on food and reducing cholesterol.
The success of the BT project has prompted interest from other public sector companies who want to mount a similar programme for their staff. This reflects a growing trend among UK employers, who are beginning to recognise that a healthier workforce leads to improved productivity and lower sickness absence. CBI figures show that absence costs UK employers £12bn a year, with 168 million working days lost in 2004.
The Men's Health Forum is now planning to roll out similar programmes to other interested companies and will shortly be discussing with public health minister Caroline Flint how the Department of Health can back the initiative.
Page created on March 20th, 2006
Page updated on December 1st, 2009