Faculty take steps to cut health costs

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    TCU faculty and staff members who hope to increase wellness and lower health-care costs will start taking a step in the right direction next week. Actually, thousands of them.The University Recreation Center and Human Resources are teaming up to kick off the TCU Pedometer Challenge on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, in honor of Heart Health Month. The challenge is a program in which participating faculty and staff will wear pedometers, devices that track the amount of steps a person takes each day.

    Steve Kintigh, director of Campus Recreation, said the Rec Center and Human Resources have purchased 1,000 pedometers for faculty and staff. He said he hopes the program will promote healthy competition and teamwork.

    Shauna Cognata, program coordinator, said different departments will develop teams to compete in walking the most steps during the 10-week time limit. Between 60 and 65 teams have signed up to compete, Cognata said.

    The goal is for each person to walk 10,000 steps a day, Cognata said. She said 2,000 steps are equal to one mile and weekly prizes will be given to the person who takes the most steps.

    Cognata said the winning team will receive a free team lunch, champion T-shirts and massages.

    Kintigh said the short-term goal of the program is to improve and promote wellness, but the long-term goal is to lower health-care costs.

    “People look at us like we’re crazy when we say a walking competition will lower health-care costs,” Kintigh said, “but the bottom line is: The healthier the faculty and staff are, the less health-care will cost. And we think we’ll get there in the future.”

    In addition to lowering health-care costs, Kintigh said he hopes that improving the wellness of the faculty and staff will reduce the number of sick days taken.

    Trey Morrison, director for fitness and wellness, said he is excited to introduce the pedometer program.

    “The general hope is to have a bigger program next year,” Morrison said. “We are constantly evaluating programs and implementing new ones.”

    Pat Jolley, team leader of Human Resources, said the faculty and staff have received the program well.

    “There has been a very enthusiastic reception,” Jolley said. “It’s always nice to have something to look forward to after the holidays, and this is giving people a reason to get outside and be active.