H-E-B to Improve Health of Texans

"In Texas we have a lot of health concerns and in order to make a real change, entities have to come together; that includes us, a supermarket, but also schools, businesses and local government." — Kate Rogers, vice president of partner communications and engagement, H-E-B

SAN ANTONIO — Cities and towns across the Lone Star State are facing off to see which can have the most profound effect on health in their community.

It’s all part of The Healthy at H-E-B Community Challenge, one of several actions sponsored by the H.E. Butt Grocery Co. [4] to help make Texas the healthiest state.

H-E-B was already changing the health habits of store employees and shoppers with “Healthy at H-E-B,” a program launched earlier this year to provide tips on eating right, exercising and smart shopping. But to make an even bigger splash it decided to rally members of the community at large.

Through Oct. 31, individuals, schools, businesses and community leaders will log their healthy actions and earn points for their community on www.HEBcommunitychallenge.com. The competition kicked off Sept. 1.

Mayors earn points by challenging other leaders to enter the contest.

“In Texas we have a lot of health concerns and in order to make a real change, entities have to come together; that includes us, a supermarket, but also schools, businesses and local government,” said Kate Rogers, vice president of partner communications and engagement for H-E-B.

The Community Challenge was developed by Active Life, the parent organization of It’s Time Texas, a grassroots campaign to transform Texas into the healthiest state.

Read more: H-E-B Gears Up for New Fitness Contest [5]

H-E-B is the lead founding ally of It’s Time Texas and the Healthy at H-E-B Community Challenge, meaning it’s made a three-year financial commitment to the cause and has pledged marketing and employee support, according to Baker Harrell, founder and chief executive officer of Active Life.

“H-E-B’s leadership is challenging the Texas corporate community to support the cause,” Harrell said.

Challenge participants earn points in a number of ways, many of which encourage broader participation. For instance:

• A community’s mayor earns 500 points for its town by uploading a video to the contest website, in which he or she challenges a rival mayor to take the It’s Time Texas Pledge. Pledge takers earn 250 points for committing to issuing a press release declaring support for the challenge, and encouraging the adoption of policies that promote health throughout the community.

• Schools, businesses and organizations earn 100 points for creating a healthy project like a family fitness night or a school garden, and 200 points for partnering with a fellow community organization to create a project.

• Individuals earn 10 points by recording a healthy activity as part of H-E-B’s Ready, Set, Move! Challenge.

Part of Healthy at H-E-B, the Ready, Set, Move! Challenge encourages shoppers to log at least 150 minutes of exercise each week during an eight-week period that runs through Oct. 28.

Participants must set their basal metabolic rate and track their activity on the Ready, Set, Move! tracker at www.heb.com/page/healthy-at-heb/ready-set-move-challenge. One entry in a random drawing is earned each week that 150 minutes of exercise are completed. The grand prize is a 12-month gym membership and a fitness package valued at $1,000.

H-E-B Community Challenge

Ready, Set, Move! also ties into the H-E-B Community Challenge.

“When individuals participate in Ready, Set, Move!, they have an opportunity to win prizes and incentives from us, and their activities earn points for their community,” Rogers explained.

In fact, in order to win the Community Challenge, a city or town must have at least one resident participate in the Ready, Set, Move! Challenge.

Ready, Set, Move! also has an in-store element that encourages shoppers to make smart nutrition choices.

The first 25,000 people to sign up for the contest will receive a bar-coded bracelet that entitles them to special offers.

“Every week over the period of the challenge there are new offers associated with the bracelet for a total savings of about $12,” Rogers said.

Many of the free and discounted products are healthy snacks sold under the H-E-Buddy private-label children’s line.

“The bracelets have been really popular with kids,” Rogers said.

Read more: Healthy Signs for In-Store Clinics [6]

Although she could not say how many customers had signed up for Ready, Set, Move!, 12,000 store employees, which H-E-B refers to as “partners,” are taking part in the initiative.

“Our whole philosophy with Healthy at H-E-B is starting with our partners first,” Rogers said. “We are the state’s largest private employer with 76,000 who work for us, so when you talk about creating a cultural shift toward a healthier lifestyle in Texas, that’s a pretty good place to start.”

H-E-B’s efforts come as another food retailer, Hy-Vee Food Stores [7], West Des Moines, Iowa, is throwing support behind Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative.

Read more: Fareway, Hy-Vee Iowa Stores Earn Blue Zones Label [8]

Harrell hopes that more states will get onboard with initiatives that help cultivate interstate competition.

“With It’s Time Texas we are creating a nationally scalable model for transformational social change at the community and state levels,” Harrell said. “Our ultimate goal is for every state to have their own It’s Time cause and encourage friendly competition amongst the various states.”

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