Body composition supports employee health
South Gippsland Shire Council is utilising body composition scan technology, in a bid to educate staff about their bodies and to encourage healthier lifestyles.
Employees from across the organisation were recently offered a free body composition scan, which takes less than five minutes to complete and analyses factors including muscle mass, body fat, visceral fat and metabolic rate.
Cost to Council in offering scans to all staff was minimal, at a cost of only $20 per person.
Staff were provided with individual reports and Council gained collective, de-identified workforce data.
Following the scans staff were encouraged to take up healthy lifestyle changes, with a local nutritionist providing staff with general advice on healthy eating and a nearby gym offering work out plans, advice and group programs for staff.
Council’s Health & Wellbeing Committee then organised challenges to encourage change.
The first, focused on encouraging regular exercise, saw staff use MyZone heartrate trackers to earn points individually and as teams, based on intensity of exercise performed.
The second challenge took aim at healthy weight loss; staff made changes to their diet and lifestyle to reduce their total body fat mass.
Nine weeks later, employees were offered a chance to gauge their success through a follow up scan – with great results achieved.
In total, participants lost 72.6kgs with 71.3kgs of this loss being pure fat. The first and second place winners of the weight loss challenge lost a combined total of 37.02 per cent body fat mass, with many other staff experiencing the positive effects of increased exercise and nutrition.
Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive.
One participant appreciated “the banter around the office and friendly rivalry between the teams, which has also meant I’ve talked to various people more than I otherwise probably would have, so those relationships will inevitably help me at some point with some work.”
Another said: “If you feel more positive about yourself, you feel more confident in tackling different tasks.
“I feel more motivated to take exercise in my lunch break and come back feeling more refreshed and ready to work again.”
Council is keen to include the body composition scan program as a standard inclusion in their Health & Wellbeing calendar moving forward.