UAB retains title in Birmingham Choose Healthy Challenge

For the second year, UAB and its employees won first place in the annual Birmingham Choose Healthy Challenge, which ended Nov. 21.

UAB’s victory means that competition organizers will make a $2,000 donation on UAB’s behalf to local charity HEAL Alabama (Healthy Eating, Active Living), a non-profit that provides a curriculum-based fitness and nutrition program for use in elementary schools.

“Even more than earning a championship title, I’m so proud of UAB for contributing to a culture of wellness,” said Anna Threadcraft, director of Employee Wellness. “Winning first place secures bragging rights for another year, and also enables us to support an incredible charity that equips young men and women around the state to be healthy individuals.

UAB scored 4,060 points, more than edging out Children’s Hospital of Alabama, which scored 2,670 points, and Hoar Construction, with 1,760 points. UAB participants comprised more than 38 percent of all participants in the annual competition.

Ashley Ashley Benson and her pup, Cooper, headed to Oak Mountain State Park for a weekend hike, which she submitted to earn points in the competition.On a personal level, Ashley Benson, a recruitment marketing specialist for UAB Health System, was the highest-scoring competitor in the entire challenge, and six UAB employees won $25 Piggly Wiggly gift cards.

“It was a great lesson on how often you have to make healthy choices,” Benson said. “Entering regularly helped keep me motivated. The app visualized the week, and I could easily see the progress I made each day. I mostly found it was hard for me to make healthy choices on the weekend. I’m still shocked I won.”

UAB’s earned points were well-balanced:

  • 38 percent by employees submitting physical healthy choices,
  • 32 percent from nutritional healthy choices,
  • 23 percent from emotional healthy choices and
  • 7 percent from healthy choice purchases.

“UAB employees owned this challenge, and proved to capture healthy habits that support overall well-being through exercise, balanced eating and mental health,” Threadcraft said.

Employees can continue submitting healthy selfies to for a chance to be featured on the UAB Employee Wellness Facebook page at