Workplace programs encouraging employees to lose weight are growing in popularity. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
Arthur Wong and Daniel Sicurello don't often work out in the park together but they and several of their coworkers in the Radiation Therapy department at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Queens do regularly encourage each other to get fit and eat right.
"If I had that cookie in my hand, it got knocked out of my hand, or 'Don't do it don't do it!' And then I'm like, you're right I don't need it," says Jennifer Modena, Chief Radiation Therapist at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Queens.
Still carrying extra pounds from the holiday season, the five decided to join the HealthyWage challenge - a weight loss competition offered through their employer.
"So that was a good incentive for us to kind of get together and lose some weight and win some money as well," says Wong.
They each pay a monthly fee but can get it back by losing 10 percent of their initial weight.
If they beat other teams nationally they can share $10,000.
"There's a calculator on our site and you can figure out how much we'll pay you based on your demographics. So if you're heavier we'll pay you more, because we find that people who need to change more need more money to do so," says Healthy Wage Co-Founder David Roddenberry.
While some research has questioned whether such incentives really can drive down a company's health care costs there's evidence that group-based challenges rather than individual challenges produce measurable results.
"Employers are responding to two things. One, participation. People actually sign up and really like joining the challenges. And then two, results," Roddenberry adds.
And it seems the employees appreciate the extra push to do something they wanted to anyway.
Sicurello lost 20 pounds over the past few months, doing Crossfit before work, and hitting the gym after.
Barbour shed 10 pounds after cutting carbs and walking during her lunch break.
Jennifer Modena made losing weight a game with her infant son.
"Holding the baby I did squats, lying down on the bed I would do crunches holding him. He would fall asleep, so it was a win-win," notes Modena.
They lost a collective 48 and a half pounds and hope to keep it going well after the challenge ends.