Wellness Incentives Motivate Police and Firefighters to Get in Topnotch Shape

by: Nichole Gunn September 16, 2010

While wellness programs have gained significant popularity in the corporate world, the public sector has been somewhat slower in embracing the new trend.

Police and firefighters are starting to implement employee wellness programs that encourage workers to stay in shape and adopt healthier lifestyles and eating habits.

These wellness programs offer different incentives, such as discounted gym memberships and healthcare premiums, the Augusta Chronicle reports.  The North Augusta public safety officers are also given an annual physical to test their strength, agility and general wellness.

Al Cothran, the revenue administrator for the city of Aiken, states that deputies in good shape take fewer sick days and make fewer worker compensation claims, ultimately lowering insurance costs. “That's not to mention the benefit of having a firefighter who is able to carry your children out of a burning building”, says Cothran.

Wellness incentive programs come in a variety of formats and can be especially beneficial to employees in occupations that are not conducive to healthy eating. In 2008 the LA Police Department, for instance, had hired a dietician to help overweight officers get in shape.