Dozens of staff at Hawke's Bay Today have registered to out-pace each other and improve their health in a seven week pedometer challenge.
The Step Up Seven Week Challenge in conjunction with Health Hawke's Bay has armed 63 staff members with step counters as an example of how employers can encourage staff to take responsibility for their own health.
Friendly competition had already started between the nine teams, with names such as Tryn'beatus, Miss Fitz, Fit Fantastic and The Editor's Predators, who will compete to take the highest number of steps by the end of the challenge.
Health Hawke's Bay CEO Philip Grant said the partnership with Hawke's Bay Today was an opportunity to raise awareness about reducing risk factors of one of the region's biggest killers - heart disease.
"We loved meeting and talking with Hawke's Bay Today staff members today and seeing their enthusiasm and reasons for taking up the challenge - for themselves, for their families and for their colleagues," he said.
"By putting themselves forward they are also helping us to promote the benefits of heart checks and how this simple check can help the region fight one of its biggest killers - Cardiovascular Disease."
Before pedometer's were turned on, staff were given a basic "warrant of fitness" health check from a team of registered nurses. Ten staff members will also be recorded to see how the challenge has improved their health and lifestyle.
Hawke's Bay Newspapers general manager Russell Broughton welcomed the opportunity to partner with Mr Grant and the region's Primary Health Organisation to promote health and well-being.
"I really want to thank them for all their support," he said. "It is a great opportunity for us to really work hard over seven weeks and get fit for Christmas sport or just to feel better.
"There is a real opportunity for some of us to make some life-changing health decisions - especially now we are armed with more information from the health checks."
Is your heart healthy?
The top three killers in Hawke's Bay are heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The best chance of survival is early intervention.
Maori men are dying on average seven years earlier than the rest of Hawke's Bay's male population due to heart disease.
More than 13,500 people living in Hawke's Bay are due or overdue for a heart check.