Huntsville Hospitals

Alabama has a problem: it’s home to some of the most delicious barbecue cooking in the world.

Residents’ addiction to grilled goodies coupled with low opportunities for physical activity mean the state is ranked fifth in terms of obesity in the United States. Nearly a third of Alabamians do no exercise and two-thirds of people are overweight or obese.

A key way the problem is being tackled is by altering the environment of public buildings to create a culture of health. One organisation that’s taken on the challenge is Huntsville Hospital Health System (HHHS).

HHHS runs nine hospitals across the state and is the third largest publically funded hospital system in the US.  

A big challenge for Huntsville

With more than 1,800 beds and 12,000 employees, Huntsville’s wellness team has a crucial role in fighting the obesity. They continually review the best ways to improve staff wellbeing and take the lead with innovative health initiatives. In its role as custodian of the state’s health, HHHS showcases successful health schemes to the community and demonstrates how future health issues can be prevented or mitigated.

When the team at Huntsville learnt about StepJockey, they instinctively understood the benefits it could bring to the fight against obesity among staff, patients and visitors. And in early 2015 Huntsville became the first US hospital to install StepJockey Smart Signs and label their staircases for calorie burn.

"By highlighting the benefits of stair climbing, we hope our employees and visitors will be gently nudged into a more active routine … one that can bring about life-changing benefits over time", said David Spillers, CEO of Huntsville Hospital Health System.

Scaling new heights

Shortly after installing StepJockey Smart Signs Huntsville launched a StepJockey stair climbing Challenge. The Challenge platform enabled Huntsville to get staff to burn the equivalent number of calories as it would take to reach the summit of Mount Everest simply by using the hospital stairs instead of the elevators.

After just two weeks of pre-launch communications, provided through StepJockey, staff were eager to get involved: 246 players had signed up before launch and were ready to take to the stairs.

Huntsville’s staff reached the summit of Everest in record time. In just 24 days of the Challenge, they had climbed the mountain and burnt over 144,000 calories.

The StepJockey stair climbing Smart Signs and Challenge proved extremely popular with staff and patients alike. Tracie Fields, a long time Huntsville member of staff and first-time stair climber, said: “I saw we were losing weight and toning up... I feel better and rest better at night”.

Huntsville’s efforts to get people moving with StepJockey have hit the news in Alabama, with the hospital's executives being praised for leading from the front on health.

By highlighting the benefits of stair climbing, we hope our employees and visitors will be gently nudged into a more active routine … one that can bring about life-changing benefits over time

David Spillers, CEO Huntsville Hospital Health System

A stair climbing revolution

Since launch StepJockey has rated more than 8,000 stairways for calorie-burn, encouraging people across the world to take to the stairs to kick start physical activity. StepJockey’s health-promoting Smart Signs and gamification platform are widely used by large corporates and organisations including Proctor & Gamble, Deloitte, NHS, Lloyds of London, Legal and General, Public Health England and KPMG.

StepJockey offers a range of Challenge packages for organisations of all size, and the company has now run more than 40 stair climbing Challenges internationally. The Challenges have been shown to increase stair usage up to 800%, and in trials, 92% of those who took part in a challenge said they felt that stair climbing would become a habit.

To find out more about how StepJockey can help you create a culture of lasting healthy habits at work contact the team today at 0203 397 8377.

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