Kristi Nelson, NBCDFW.com
Employees at Texas Leather Trim in Fort Worth are taking off pounds by taking laps around the block at lunchtime.
Employee wellness programs are picking up speed, even at smaller companies.
A Fort Worth business with just 37 employees that saw the effects of poor health in the form of sagging employees and higher insurance costs has set out to fix it.
Texas Leather Trim employees spend hours at their posts making leather goods. Their jobs are often sedentary.
When the company switched insurance carriers and got an overview of employee health, management was startled.
"I was shocked at the number of people here who had diabetes and high blood pressure, and it weighed on me for several months,” said Carol White, the company’s vice president.
She launched "Move It In May,' an employee wellness program, and just about everyone signed on.
Now, everyone drops what they're doing when the factory’s lunch bell rings and heads out for several laps around the office park.
And the lunches they eat afterward are getting lighter and healthier.
"Everybody's trying to eat less and try to eat more healthier foods,” employee Angelita Martinez said.
Several people said the mood around the building seems to have lifted, and they are having more fun at work in general.
"Our employees are smiling; you can just see the pep in their step,” White said. “Their eyes are brighter, they're excited, all talking about how far they're going to walk at lunch.”