Sparrow, Lansing businesses partner to battle holiday bulge


Published: Nov. 11, 2015

Sparrow is helping Lansing businesses work with employees to avoid overindulging at the holiday dinner table with the Be Well at Sparrow Holiday Maintain Don’t Gain challenge.

The challenge is simple: people weigh in before Thanksgiving and weigh out after New Year’s Day. Everyone who stays within one percent of their starting weight is eligible to win prizes. Onsite weigh-ins are provided by the Be Well at Sparrow team, with each company supplying its own prizes and incentives. Participants can also earn points for things such as exercise or bringing a healthy food choice to a gathering.

Participating companies include American Board of Emergency Medicine, Barry-Eaton District Health Department, Burcham Hills, Ingham County, Lansing Ophthalmology, and MSU Federal Credit Union. Sparrow also offers the program to Caregivers across the entire health system.

Last year, MSUFCU employees lost a combined total of 286 pounds. About 600 people among the seven employers are expected to participate this holiday season.

“We all know it is easy to indulge and stray from healthy routines during the holiday season. This challenge is simply about making healthy choices during this time,” said Sparrow Health and Wellness Manager Leslie Polack. “The challenge is designed to reward a wide range of healthy behaviors. The most common feedback we receive from Caregivers who have participated is that they need something to keep them ‘on track’ during the holiday season. Maintain Don’t Gain offers that accountability and some fun rewards along the way.”

“Last year, participating employees lost a collective amount of 286 pounds with over 74 percent of participants maintaining or losing weight during the holiday season,” said Shaun Darling, MSUFCU Human Resources Generalist. “The employee’s $5 registration was tripled and each person received $15 at the conclusion of the challenge if they achieved the goal. This year we have added more on-site resources including yoga and Zumba classes to help motivate employees over the course of the challenge.”

It is the program’s third year at Sparrow, and the second for MSUFCU and Burcham Hills. Employers interested in learning how to set up their own program can email the Be Well at Sparrow team at

“The staff at Burcham Hills tirelessly works to give the best care to the residents that live here,” said Elizabeth Whaley, the East Lansing retirement community’s Fitness Coordinator. “This manageable challenge provides guidance, support, and motivation to get our staff through this busy time of year. We are proud to provide this challenge in hopes to better the lives of our staff.”