Glendale police shed pounds under fitness program

Glendale police employees have cut their collective body fat by 5% over the last five years under a program aimed at decreasing health care and injury costs.

Cholesterol levels also dropped from an average 207 in 2005 to 189 last year, when 259 employees were enrolled in the wellness program, officials reported. Triglyceride levels also improved from 132 in 2005 to 122 in 2010.

“If we save one or two lives by doing this, it’s really worth it,” Glendale Police Capt. Todd Stokes told the City Council last week.

The council allocated $116,850 from the state Asset Forfeiture Fund to renew a contract with Wellness Solutions, which provides health, fitness and nutrition activities for the police employees.

The funding will pay for a full-time fitness consultant and testing, including blood samples and a cardiac stress assessment.

Physical training, injury prevention tips and nutritional seminars are also included, Stokes said.

“We know that a lot of folks won’t do this on their own and it’s preventive given the nature of our work,” he said.

The free wellness seminars have been open to all city employees. Last year, 86 participated, according to the city.

A program manager has also maintained health and fitness records of participants, allowing department administrators to check on their progress.

All sworn officers who were hired with the department after July 1, 2007 are required to participate in program.

Besides shrinking waist lines, a fitter, healthier department also appears to be cutting down on overall health costs. Since the program’s inception, police workers compensation costs have been declining, according to the city report, although officials said they couldn’t draw a conclusive relationship.

City Manager Jim Starbird said the proactive and structured program is aimed at preventing accidents and improving overall cardiovascular and body strength.

“Its benefit goes to not just health insurance, but its benefit goes to reduce your workers compensation cost,” City Manager Jim Starbird told council members. “It’s been proven over time that it can have results.”

FOR THE RECORD: This story has been updated from an earlier version.



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Photo: Glendale Police Officers stand during the singing of our National Anthem. Credit: File photo.

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