Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 3, 2013

City of Stillwater wellness initiative ‘huge hit’

OKLAHOMA CITY — Employees of the city of Stillwater are lowering health risks to lower health insurance premiums.

An employee wellness initiative is designed to not only help the city’s wallet but also help the health of employees. Christy Luper, human resources manager for the city, said the goal is to see a higher investment of the city’s money because of lower insurance rates.

The first thing the city did when it launched its health initiative was have a health screening. The three-day event was the start of the city’s “Know Your Numbers” campaign.

“It opened some eyes,” Luper said. “People were surprised about their high numbers such as cholesterol and things like that. It showed how not being active enough could affect their health.”

Along with the health screening, the city asked employees to do a 12-page health risk assessment through Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Luper said the assessment asked detailed questions and then gave tips and guidance to help a person on concern areas.

If employees completed the health screening and health risk assessment, they received a device called a Fitbit.

A Fitbit is a high-tech pedometer which automatically synchs information with computers in the city’s offices.

Luper said the Fitbit creates competition within city offices because it gives live updates on people who are walking and being more active than others.

There are some employees who are averaging more than 16,000 steps a day, which is approximately eight miles based on 2,000 steps per mile.

The Fitbit was the first program the city launched with its wellness initiative. It has been a “huge hit,” Luper said.

“We thought it would be gadgetry enough to tie in those who want a toy,” Luper said. “The end result is it is obvious all the time (and shows your step process). The goal was 10,000 steps.”

Luper said a person thinks 10,000 steps is not that hard, but people were surprised when they would get home from work and barely have more than 2,000 steps.

Luper said the Fitbit’s made people more aware of their non-active lifestyles.

The city is also looking to do a topic and tip of the month for employees. Luper said the tips and topics could range from financial health to mental health. This will be another step the city will be taking to help with the overall health initiative, Luper said.

Luper said there will be many more programs the city hopes to launch for its health initiative. She said the end result will make employees healthier and lower their insurance premium rates.

“So far our angle has been getting them their numbers and information,” Luper said.

“Then it is about physical activity. The goal is getting people active because that lowers all of those concern areas.”

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