WARRENVILLE, Ill. — Over 1,500 employees from Durham School Services and Stock Transportation participated in National Express Corp.'s (NEC) inaugural "School Bus Slim Down Challenge" as part of the company's efforts to promote health and wellness.
Employees from customer service centers (CSCs) throughout the U.S. and Canada began the weight loss challenge in February and collectively lost 8,610 pounds over the 10-week competition.
"The health and safety of our employees is enhanced through personal fitness, which contributes to the vitality of our organization," said Michele McDermott, SVP of safety and human resources for NEC. "The Slim Down Challenge served as a catalyst to give employees information and support that encourages healthy lifestyles. We learned that individual CSCs were conducting weight loss challenges and thought it would be a great idea to sponsor a challenge involving all locations across North America."
The School Bus Slim Down Challenge is part of NEC's "Enjoy the Ride" program, which recognizes safety, celebrates service, advances employee development and encourages active community involvement.
Participating teams reported weigh-in results each week and recorded cumulative team weight loss throughout the competition.
Also during each week of the competition, NEC's benefits department issued newsletters to employees covering topics on health and wellness, including nutrition, exercise, drinking water and emotional eating.
Stock Transportation driver Sue Matthies from the Iroquois, Ontario, CSC said that the newsletter tips helped motivate her team each week to meet their weight loss goals and support each other during the competition.
"Every week the newsletter has focused on one of the many keys to not only help achieve the success of this endless battle, but tips to promote general health and wellness,” Matthies said. “Our small team of 14 drivers has discussed many of these aspects and attempted to act on the suggestions."
Team "Durham Heavy Weights" from Independence, Kan., won the competition by losing 11.1% of their body weight. Each member of the winning team will receive a one-year gym membership reimbursement to the health club of his or her choice.
Matthies' team plans to continue the Slim Down Challenge beyond the official competition with weekly weigh-ins and participation in a charity walk for a local food bank.
McDermott noted that the success of the challenge exceeded expectations, and National Express Corp. plans to sponsor the challenge again next year.
"Many teams have indicated they will continue to support each other in their ongoing efforts toward health and wellness. And, that's great news," she said.