FARMINGTON — For some, the first year of Davis Moves meant simply getting a check up and filling out a risk assessment.
For others it meant organizing educational programs or participating in walking challenges.
But for a few employees of Davis School District, particiating in Davis Moves meant a life-saving diagnosis and treatment.
The district implemented Davis Moves last year in an effort to encourage employees to adopt healthy lifestyles.
More than encouraging, the district set a monetary incentive by holding $6.25 as a wellness premium each month, for a total of $62.50 for 10 months.
If employees went to the doctor and did the online risk assessment during that time, they received $60 of that back as an incentive reimbursement at the end of the year.
The district kept $2.50.
“It helped drive interest, absolutely,” said John Robison, healthy lifestyles supervisor at the district.
Of the district’s 4,200 employees, 2,700 participated in the wellness program, something the district hopes will help bring insurance costs down over time.
Even more significantly, eight employees who participated learned they had life-threatening conditions and were able to have them treated.
For two, it was basal-cell carcinomas, said Robison. In annother case it was breast cancer.
Those three and others have voluntarily called the district to express thanks for, in effect, saving their lives, he said.
“If we just had one of those calls,” said Robison, “it would have been worthwhile.”
The district did not require feedback on the screening results, he said, so it’s possible there have been more.
Besides encouraging the screenings, each school and many district departments had designated wellness captains.
At monthly meetings, captains would share ideas and take them back to their fellow employees to encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
“They were kind of on their own as far as the programs they wanted to do,” said Robison.
At some schools, captains ran campaigns to encourage walking, drinking more water, eating less sugar or exercising more. Some had different campaigns each month.
In addition, the districxt held several events through the year to encourage good health.
In January and February, the emphasis was heart health and employees learned about what symptoms to watch for.
Cancer awareness was the focus in March and April, and for one event, a bus outfitted to give mammograms came to the district.
In a few cases, those who participated in a set number of screenings could enter to win trips to St. George or San Diego.
Those trips were paid for by the Davis Education Foundation, not by public funds.
“People have lost 80, 100, 120, 40 pounds,” said Robison. “If those people continue to be healthier they’ll be going to the doctor less.”
Eventually, insurance costs to the district and to employees may go down as a result of the attention to health, said Robison, though it may not be for years.
At the district’s Year-End Wellness Celebration held last month, Weston Weekes, a wellness captain for the district’s architectural department, said he too has seen health improvements among the employees he works with, related to losing weight and controlling diabetes.
For now, the success of the program has ensured its continuation.
“We might add a few things, “ said Robinson. “We will continue.”