Fiscal Fitness

October 1st marks the beginning of a new fiscal year. At OMB, that coincides with an increased pace as we begin to put together the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget. This year, as part of their budget submissions, federal agencies have been asked to report on their efforts to improve the health and wellness of their employees. I want to make sure that the staff at OMB doesn’t just talk the talk on wellness, but that we also walk the walk — literally.
As a first step towards making that happen, today we will be kicking off the OMB Pedometer Challenge. This afternoon, we’ll be making pedometers available to all OMB employees to give them a tool to track their steps, increase their physical activity, and make strides towards reducing their stress levels and improving their overall health. As the days get shorter, the work hours get longer at OMB — and I’ve challenged myself and my staff to find creative ways to increase our physical activity over the coming months.
In true OMB fashion, the OMB Pedometer Challenge (which is entirely voluntary!) is an intervention backed by evidence: studies show that pedometers are proven to be one of the most cost-effective ways to increase physical activity. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the use of a pedometer caused participants to increase physical activity by as much as 27 percent — increasing average daily steps by over 2000 steps per day.  A second study suggests that pedometers are one of the most cost-effective interventions for increasing physical activity.
In order to keep us all motivated, I’ll be posting my own daily step count on an internal website and I’ll be able to see who on my staff is beating me. But more than a race, this is a challenge — and I look forward to seeing how far we can collectively go.

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