LOCAL NEWS

Utah Woman Says Wellness Program May Have Saved Her Life

Oct 3, 2018, 4:59 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2018, 1:18 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Many Utahns participate in employer-sponsored wellness programs aimed at improving employees’ overall health. But, plenty of people neglect to take advantage of those benefits. One Salt Lake City employee is glad she got involved with their new wellness program, it may have actually saved her life.

Healthy employees are good for the bottom line. Many employers know that. When your workers are paid by the public, like the employees of Salt Lake City, wellness helps save lives and taxpayer dollars, too.

“I always believed that prevention is much better than remedy,” said Stephanie Yau, Education Program Manager for Salt Lake City. “But, I also believe that I am doing very well.”

She didn’t think the new SLC 360 wellness program was for her., but co-workers urged her into the pilot program in April, before it was launched for all city employees July 1.

“So I said, OK, OK, just as a sign of support I will do it,” said Yau.

A colonoscopy she said wouldn’t have had otherwise, revealed cancer despite her seemingly healthy lifestyle. She said, she believed she was perfectly healthy. Early detection, enabled doctors to get rid of the cancer.

Salt Lake City employees participate in a walking challenge as part of a wellness program

“Prevention is better than remedy,” said Yau. “Therefore, I would say, this is a wonderful benefit. Why not take advantage of it?”

“It saved her a lot of time and heartache and additional treatment that would have come down the road had she not done it,” said Trent Steele, benefits analyst for the city.

He said, the previous wellness program only attracted 14% of the workforce, and less than half were getting their critical preventive exams. With new cash incentives, and a focus on preventive care, 40% of all city employees are now registered. With more than 2,800 employees citywide, a 25% improvement in employee participation can make a big difference for the workforce, said Steele.

“People going through and getting their physical, their flu shot, and those other types of care,” he said, in addition to walking challenges, mental health challenges, and diet plans.

“We’re trying to bring everything all under one program,” said Steele.

Don Davies, an employee with the city for 35 years, said the SLC 360 wellness program has been a huge benefit to him.

“Totally changed my life,” he said.

They checked his blood pressure, his weight and his cholesterol to get a baseline measurement in April.

“I’ve lost about 40 pounds. So, I feel much better,” he said.

He substantially reduced his cholesterol, and said he likes the way his clothes fit better after trimming down. The cash incentives for participating help keep him interested.

Yau also continues to be very engaged in the program, overhauling her diet this summer with a nutritionist. She lost 12 pounds of fat and gained six pounds of muscle, reduced her waist size and cut her cholesterol. So, how does she feel?

“Great, of course great,” she said. “You have everything to gain, nothing to lose. So, why not.”

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Utah Woman Says Wellness Program May Have Saved Her Life