As a runner and general fitness nut, I was pleasantly surprised to find a press release in my inbox from the Office of Management and Budget this morning announcing a new mandate for OMB staff: wear a pedometer.
OMB Director Peter Orszag launched the “OMB Pedometer Challenge” today to improve employee health by having everyone wear a pedometer to track their physical activity throughout the day.
Employees will enter their daily steps on an internal Web site and compare their activity levels to Orszag’s activity levels and their division’s levels. They’ll also be able to enter health statistics like body mass index, blood pressure and heart rate to help track improvements in their health.
The employee with the highest activity level each month wins lunch with Orszag and the highest performing team wins a “health happy hour.” Free lunch and/or a free happy hour? That’s inspiration enough for me.
This challenge will make all of us more aware of our current activity levels and help inspire us to increase our physical activity. Evidence shows that pedometers are one of the most cost-effective ways to increase physical activity. And in true OMB fashion, we like to walk down the path cleared by the best data.”
The challenge is part of a larger effort to improve the health and productivity of the federal workforce, while reducing health care and disability costs, OMB said in the news release.