HealthyWage gears up for weight-loss contest in Houston

HOUSTON — HealthyWage, an online network that pays members who improve their health, on Tuesday announced registration now is under way for its "Houston Matchup" competition — a citywide weight-loss contest that will reward top-performing teams with a total of $18,000 in cash prizes.

"'The Houston Matchup' brings the city together in a collective effort to achieve weight-loss and health goals through a fun and lucrative contest," stated HealthyWage co-founder David Roddenberry. "Competing in teams of five against family, friends and co-workers for added encouragement, bragging rights and big cash prizes, this initiative leverages our social network model proven to help motivate and sustain weight loss,” he said.

“Academic research shows that obesity has spread through social networks and will likely reverse through social networks. Houston resident and Chevron employee 'Sharon,' who recently won $1,000 from HealthyWage for her 64-lb. weight-loss accomplishment, is proof positive this approach works." (View Sharon's success story here.)

"With nearly one-quarter of all Texas adults reported to be obese and far more classified as overweight, coupled with Texas' estimated annual medical cost of obesity ringing in at nearly $5.5 billion, we hope this initiative will provide an extra dose of motivation to effect positive change for the region," Roddenberry noted.

Throughout "The Houston Matchup," teams of five will compete for the greatest percentage of weight lost from May 13 through Aug. 12. Each participant pays a $60 registration fee and weighs in at the beginning and end of the contest at a local health club.

The winning teams will receive a total of $18,000 in cash prizes ($10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second and $3,000 for third). In addition, participants qualify for $100 cash if they start with a body mass index above 30 and achieve a BMI below 25 after one year.

In addition to those participating at an individual level, large employers also will join in "The Houston Matchup" in a "company vs. company" or "school vs. school" division, where they compete against other organizations throughout the state in an attempt to have their employees lose the most weight. Dozens of local companies are participating in the contest, including Pride International, Wison Floating Systems and Tesco.

"Participants in previous financial compensation-based HealthyWage team contests have lost on average 5% of their body weight," Roddenberry said. "While our company pays all Houston residents $100 to lose weight as a standard part of our program, we've found that the free $100 cash incentive is more effective at motivating weight loss when coupled with a contest to build excitement and peer support in working toward weight-loss goals."

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