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Giant's Wellness Pilot Gets the Spotlight

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giant-pic.jpgHelping employees build and maintain healthy lifestyles has become a big focus for supermarkets over the past couple years. And it makes perfect sense, especially since everything you need is already there in the store.

It’s also a great story — and not just for us. Good Morning America did a 5-minute segment this morning on Giant Food Store’s pilot employee wellness program, which enrolled 95 employees who collectively lost more than 1,000 pounds over the course of 12 weeks. It started inauspiciously enough: Mary Ann Moylan, nutritionist at the Willow Grove Giant store in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, began receiving requests from employees to help them eat better. She took the idea for an in-store program to the head honchos in corporate, which led to the pilot program, which in turn is set to become a company-wide initiative.

Employees who enroll will receive an individual eating plan, which should emphasize a variety of foods in smaller portions, consumed more frequently. They will then report in regularly for weigh-ins to track their progress, as well as attend healthy lifestyle seminars.

It’s a simple plan, and it works. Produce manager John Hollanden, who participated in the pilot program, lost 30 pounds. Barista Dot Churylo, a 49-year-old breast cancer survivor, lost 21 pounds. And the winner of the competition, who received the title — unfortunately, perhaps — of “Giant Loser”: Assistant Manager Aaron Abrams, who shed an impressive 38 pounds.

Congrats to all who participated. It looks like a great program. There’s just one thing that bugs me, though, and that’s Robin Roberts’ introduction to the GMA segment: “A supermarket isn’t the first place one thinks of to start a diet.”

Right, because the place that has all the fresh produce and other nutritious foods — definitely not where you’d want to start a diet.

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