Some of the statistics presented to the Leavenworth County Commission Thursday did not bode well.
Some of the statistics presented to the Leavenworth County Commission Thursday did not bode well. A voluntary survey of 112 employees of the county by health insurance provider United Health Care found that 69 percent of respondents were overweight. Another 29 percent of respondents identified themselves as overstressed. Only 17 percent got the recommended amount of physical activity. County Administrator Pat Hurley said on the flipside, 84 percent of those who filled out the surveys said they were ready to increase that level of physical activity; 96 percent said they were ready to lose weight; and 81 percent responded that they were prepared to cope better with stress. “I think that is relevant information,” he said. Relevant, Hurley said, because the commission was preparing to consider a group membership for all employees at Genesis Fitness Clubs, which has a facility in Leavenworth. Fran Keppler, the chairwoman of the county’s safety committee, further illustrated the value of offering a membership for employees — chronic disease, including diabetes, make up seven out of every 10 deaths in the country. But they’re also to some extent preventable. The readiness to change, she said, spurred a shift in focus for the safety committee, which normally focuses on preventing workplace accidents. “Healthy people have fewer accidents, and that’s our main focus,” Keppler said. Johnny Stevens, a sales director with Genesis Health Clubs, said the company has two different corporate membership plans. He suggested the corporate sponsorship model, under which the county itself would pay $1,250 each month and employees would pay $22 a month for a membership that included full use of the facility, including the pool and basketball court that will be available when the club moves out of the Leavenworth Plaza and into the former Food For Less location. He said the $22 seems to be something of a magic number in terms of enticing employees to sign up. “That’s the whole goal, to get people to try it out,” he said. Stevens said he would hope for the county to add one or two new members each month. Keppler said increased participation has been shown in a lot of other cases to have benefits — promoting employee retention, improving morale, lowering health and workers compensation claims and increasing productivity. “Most companies see a three-to-one return on investment,” she said. The commission unanimously authorized moving forward with a group membership for its employees at Genesis Health Clubs.