Concerned about low levels of productivity and high incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Barbados, officials have once again launched the Walk The Talk –– 100 Days To Wellness programme.
The initiative, which is in its second year, according to organizers, was in keeping with the National Initiative For Service Excellence’s Programme –– 100 Improvements In 100 Days.
The challenge was organized by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in association with the Barbados Employers’ Confederation and the Small Business Association.
Among other things, the initiative is aimed at encouraging employees to take responsibility for their health in order to help improve productivity and lower the number of NCDs among the working population.
Companies are being encouraged to sign up for the challenge which officially starts on February 14 –– Valentine’s Day. Participants are encouraged to aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, which means they would complete at least one million steps at the end of the 100 days.
“We have too many people in sedentary lifestyle positions; you come to work and sit in front of a computer and too many of us go home on an evening and sit in front of another one,” said David Neilands, chairperson of the health and wellness committee of the BCCI.
He told a media conference that it was important for the Barbadian population to do more walking.
Saying there were a number of organizations showing a keen interest, Neilands noted: “People are coming to the realization that unless you have a fit workforce you are going to have a less than productive workforce.
“So our rational is how can we encourage business places to look at their staff numbers and say what can we do to encourage a fitter workforce, can we install showers in the workplace, for example?” said Neilands.
“When we talk about service, I have never met anybody who is physically fit and sharp who doesn’t offer a good service,” he added.
So far, 29 companies have registered for the challenge, representing about 1,200 people, significantly less when compared to the more than 5,000 participants who took part in 2013.
Last year some individuals did not complete the challenge because the pedometers were faulty. However, organizers gave the assurance that this year would be better with improved pedometers.
After the participants submit their information fortnightly, that information will be passed on to PricewaterhouseCoopers so that the it could be analyzed.
Participants totalled some 162 million steps last year. At the end of the challenge the outstanding individuals and companies are recognized.