Higher Savings for Fit Ones?

Hey everyone! HAPPY FRIDAY! Hope you have fun plans for the weekend 😀

We’re actually heading to Orlando this afternoon to be with family for the weekend. I’m pretty excited to see everyone- my MOM even made the trek from AZ. She hardly ever comes to this side of the world- I can’t wait <3

So remember last week when I stirred the controversy pot by discussing Jillian and her weight loss pills?

*Grabs gigantic blog-sized ladle*

Well it’s time to stir the pot a little again.. I’m really anxious to see what all of you think.

wholefoods (Source)

So last night, I got an email from a reader (thank you, M T!) directing me to this article.

In an almond-shell, it says that Whole Foods Markets has announced it will offer steep store discounts to employees with healthier lifestyles and smaller Body Mass Indices.

From the article:

Here’s the deal: Employees who don’t smoke, and also have low blood pressure, low cholesterol, and a low BMI get up to a 30% discount on their purchases. All the slacker employees still get 20% off, and the program is optional; but the whole thing is likely to rub some people the wrong way (much like the uproar over Obesity 101 at Lincoln Univesity). My thoughts: First, Whole Foods is not the first company to go this route, or even the first grocer….

Lower weight, bigger savings??? Come again?

1126wholefoods (Source)

So right now, if I had a Whole Foods less that 3 hours from me, I would be racing down there to become employed and get a sweet discount on all of my favorite goodies.

But on the other hand…

I think of myself 40 lbs heavier and how discouraged I might have felt to learn I wouldn’t get a sweet discount, had I been employed by heaven on earth (aka Whole Foods).

Maybe some of the employees are working there in an effort to be surrounded by new products and ideas and get healthier in the process?

Also, I believe that BMI is a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Don’t get me wrong, blood pressure, cholesterol and not smoking are very important factors, but BMI? BMI says hardly anything about body composition. Muscle weighs more than fat, so a perfectly fit person (with higher muscle density) could actually be considered unhealthy according to the BMI scale.

On one side, it’s a great idea. Why not encourage those who are already fit to keep doing what they’re doing? Since companies pay for health care, and an employee’s health determines the care they need and the amount of money spent, it makes sense that they would do this to reduce health-related costs.

At the same time, why discourage those who need the products the most? Back in the day, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be encouraged to purchase the same items for a higher price than some of my peers. What about employees with pre-existing health conditions?

I definitely have a mixed opinion about this…

What do ya’ll think?

I’m off to pack for Orlando <3

See ya soon!


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  1. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday on January 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    First, no one seems to care that the discount it better for non-smokers. I can’t speak from experience but I imagine it is equally (if not more) difficult to quit smoking as it is to drop your BMI to a healthy range.

    Also, I don’t think that BMI is “Mumbo Jumbo”. It’s pretty accurate for average people. If you’re a bodybuilder though I can see how you might have an issue with a BMI related store discount.

  2. Rebecca on January 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I think it’s a great idea. I don’t think it discourages those who need the products the most at all, I think it’s an incentive for them to pick up better habits. They still get a discount – they just get 10% more if they work towards improving THEIR health and well being.

  3. Lauren @ Eat, Drink, and Be Hopeful on January 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    My comment has nothing to do with this post, but none the less I have more questions for you….YAY! Since you can’t give us the recipe for those amazing macaroons can you send me some? I want to taste that amazing raw coconut-ness…LOL (just kidding…maybe 😉
    Ok, I have a couple more questions for you since there seems to be so much information out there and I am so confused with everything.
    1. Do you use coconut butter or coconut oil?
    2. What is the difference/benefits from using raw coconut oil vs. organic extra virgin coconut oil?
    Thanks for clearing all this up.

  4. Catherine on January 29, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I truly like the idea of giving a larger discount for non-smokers in an effort to stop unhealthy habits, but in a world where crazy diets are a dime a dozen, unhealthy attitudes towards food are rampant and everyone seems to have their own idea of what “healthy” is, adding the provision about people’s BMI’s is treading on dangerous grounds. Yes, the intent is good, but who’s to say that some people may be tempted to lose weight through unsafe means in order to fit into their accepted BMI? Also, should people with slightly higher BMI’s, yet are still healthy, fit and muscluar, be penalized for this? Absolutely not! I love the idea, but you simply can’t force people to be healthy if they don’t want it, so forcing them into a certain size can be a little tricky.

  5. Missy on January 29, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    And not particularly here, but on other board people are talking about how it’s so unfair.. well isnt unfair that healthier people have to pay fr their health issues(as mentioned before) and isnt it unfair that smokers take many more breaks on an average work day to smoke? non smokers dont get all the extra breaks.

  6. Lindsay C on January 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I think that I like what Whole Foods is doing, because our country is in an obesity crisis and companies need to do something to prevent the average size of americans to increase again.
    The BMI thing, is something that I have to say that I actually agree with for Average people, because it helps determine if you are in a healthy range for your height and weight. When I was in treatment for my Eating Disorder, they didnt focus on my weight they gave me a goal of a certain BMI!! I think it really helped in my recovery!! 😉

  7. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) on January 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Oh WF, what a lovely marketing tactic…whether they do or don’t give an extra 10% discount to employees is their business; both literally and figuratively. It’s their business, their commerce, their economic rules. And it’s their prerogative, their say-so, their business what they want to do. However, by being controversial and creating buzz like this, they only entrench themselves deeper in the minds of consumers and as they say, there’s no such thing as bad press. Press is press. They have effectively done just that. In that sense, it’s brilliant. I personally don’t like WF’s stand on many issues from organic to fair trade to anti-health insurance reform…but their marketing principles were most excellent, even if the net result leaves a disgusting taste in many mouths.

  8. Jeannie on January 29, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    My last company’s insurance paid for my co-workers to have weight loss surgery, which would have been great if she had kept the weight off. Five years later she is obese again. Meanwhile, I’m paying every month for a gym membership that I use, eating healthy, and making good lifestyle choices. Just once, I would like to be rewarded!

  9. Jenny on January 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    WHOA. I’m stunned at this to be completely honest. It’s great to motivate people to be healthy, but to give benefits based on a person’s BMI?!? Really? I do not think that is conducive to promoting healthy living. Living up to a certain number is no way to go about things.

  10. Clarissa on January 29, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I don’t think its right, but It’s a great marketing strategy. Everyone knows its easier to get someone to buy from the same place twice then to get a new customer. If seemingly healthier employees are getting a bigger discount then they’re more likely to buy from the company to continue their healthy lifestyle. If someone is not as healthy then the thought is they are not buying from there anyway. I don’t agree with it, but its just another way a company is trying to make more money.

  11. Jessica (Fit and Clean) on January 29, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    I agree that the BMI is mumbo jumbo. I am fit, but my BMI is higher and I weigh more then someone else who wears the same size as me. I am 15 pounds heavier then my friend and we’re both the same size. It’s not fair! The no-smoking is fair, because that would be a person’s choice. Sometimes high cholesterol isn’t choice. People CAN have it and eat right and exercise, same with high blood pressure. So the majority of that list isn’t fair.

  12. Erin @ Living and Loving In L.A. on January 29, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    I think this is a fantastic idea, but I get that it’s a sensitive subject. Smoking and obesity cost our country and employers billions of dollars per year. Plus, 10% is not really that much of a difference.
    My brother actually works for Whole Foods, and he could care less about a 10% difference. Plus, I’d go out on a limb here and say that I think most employees of Whole Foods (or any health-food store) are probably already healthier than the general population, so most people who this affects probably don’t have that much to worry about.
    I work for a company that encourages and rewards musical talent. I am in no way, shape or form musically talented AT ALL. But I’m not jealous of those in the company who get paid to go on tour with their band for months out of the year, because I choose to work there.
    I think it’s kind of the same thing.

  13. caronae on January 30, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I agree with everything you said. My BMI is on the higher end of normal, but I’m a marathon runner! I eat, like 8 servings of frutis and veggies a day. I do everything right, I just have a metabolic disorder. My blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., are probably low, so I guess it would “balance out”, but I’m just not sure this plan is the greatest idea ever.

  14. Amy B on January 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I think that it’s great to encourage healthy habits… but I feel actually saying one employee gets a bigger discount than another because of things such as BMI is a form of discrimination. There are too many exceptions/technicalities being overlooked- such as BMI. In general, it is a weak measure of overall health- some people with higher BMI’s are in better overall health than some with lower (the whole “skinny fat” argument). Not so sure if I’m cool with this one…

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