Workplace Biggest Loser Competitions: A Yea Or A Nay?


Over the years, biggest loser type competitions in the workplace have become increasingly popular. This is especially rampant during the holidays when people are immensely determined to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions.

If you are an employee thinking of joining a wellness challenge in your workplace, your short term goal would be to lose weight, while the long term goal would be to improve your overall health. However, in spite of its best intentions, these weight loss contests most likely don’t accomplish these important goals.

Once you’ve experienced participating challenges like this one, you will need to make a reflection of how it progressed and what you have to consider. Start with these questions:

  • Were you and the other participants determined and unforced the whole time?
  • Were there different types of employees who participated?
  • How much did you participate?
  • Did the participants become closer and was there less conflict of ideas at the end of the competition?


If you are the employer, on the other hand, and you are the one running the competition in the workplace to improve employee health, you might assume that those with smaller frames are healthier than those with larger frames.

But according to evidence-based research, anyone can be healthy regardless of how big or small they are. Additionally, intentional weight loss is frequently short-lived and can even lead to weight gain eventually. Finally, studies confirmed that weight loss contests typically focused on weight loss instead of health.

If you are planning to start a health and wellness drive through friendly competition, it is vital to first think about these before making a decision.


Will This Competition Foster Overall Health?

Rapid and intense dieting is not healthy at all. It is not an effective method and, not to mention the fact that it can increase one’s risk of developing physical and mental health conditions. Only healthy and positive behaviors contribute to permanent good health.


Is It Rigid Or Flexible?

Achieving good health is a journey that is different from one individual to another. A specific method may work for a large-framed and active female but it may not work for a large-framed but slow-moving female. Create a drive or campaign that is not centered on only one set of individuals one that considers all types of employees.


Will The Competition Create A Positive Environment For Everyone?

If you are hell-bent on improving your company through employee engagement, it is crucial that your campaign is geared towards creating a friendly competitive environment where employees are happily fighting to win but at the same time working together to achieve the same goal of improving their health.


Ways To Integrate Health And Wellness Inclusively Among Employees

Consider these simple strategies to help you create a wellness challenge that is both workable and comprehensive.

  • Offer Opportunities To Learn. Engage your employees in webinars or short courses that might help them learn more about health and wellness. Find speakers and coaches that align with your kind of business.
  • Provide Appropriate Incentive. Providing incentives is a wise and generous move, but sometimes it can backfire if not done appropriately. If you want to give cash rewards or other incentives based on outcomes, you must remember to keep the playing field fair for everyone who would put in the effort to join the competition. It would be better to provide incentives based on outcomes versus engagement, with the goal to make the challenge inclusive.
  • Seek Their Opinion. If you’re having trouble finalizing the competition or knowing what kind of challenge you want to start, why not ask the employees themselves? Form a health and wellness committee that is tasked to gather opinions and ideas. This allows for a more diverse competition that can improve participation.



Keep in mind that health and wellness are not synonymous with weight loss. The focus must be placed on healthy behavioral patterns, commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and most of all, and inclusive environment. If you need help or if you do have fresh ideas, send us a comment or share your story here.