News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 1, 2009
Contact: OMB Communications, 202-395-7254

OMB Takes on "Fiscal Fitness," Announces Pedometer Challenge

Washington, DC — With the aim of improving employee health and well-being, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag is launching today the OMB Pedometer Challenge. Through this challenge, each OMB employee will have the chance to get a pedometer, track their steps, increase their physical activity, and improve their overall health – and potentially beat the always active Director Orszag in the process.

"This challenge will make all of us more aware of our current activity levels and help inspire us to increase our physical activity," OMB Director Peter Orszag explained. "Evidence shows that pedometers are one of the most cost-effective ways to increase physical activity. And in true OMB fashion, we like to walk down the path cleared by the best data."

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), pedometers helped increase physical activity by as much as 27 percent by increasing average daily steps by over 2000 steps per day. An Australian study also showed that pedometers were one of the two most cost-effective ways to increase physical activity.

The pedometer challenge is part of a larger effort to improve the health and wellness of the federal workforce to help boost productivity and reduce health care and disability costs. Studies have shown that a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce.

An internal website has been designed to track the progress of OMB staff. Employees will be able to log in to enter their daily steps, compare their steps to the Director’s, and see their divisions’ average steps. Employees will also be able to enter their health statistics (including BMI, blood pressure, and resting heart rate) so that improvements in their actual health can be measured over the next few months. Free testing will be offered to OMB employees who do not know their current health data.

The OMB employee who comes out on top each month will be treated to lunch with Director Orszag, and the best-performing team will be treated to a "healthy happy hour."