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School Board to Consider Fitbit Purchase to ‘Incentivize’ Employees into Healthy Habits

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines superintendent of schools wants the school board to approve the purchase of fitness trackers to motivate employees to move.

“Getting the Fitbit is one way that we can incentivize our employees to think about being more active to maybe use it as a motivational tool,” says Tammy Steinwandt, Wellness Coordinator.

The school board will consider buying up to 5,000 Fitbits. It will cost about $375,000.

The superintendent says it is part of an effort to increase participation in its wellness initiative.

Anyone who has a biometric screening would be eligible for a Fitbit.

“Healthcare costs are rising all the time and this is one way that we can look at helping our employees think about getting a little bit healthier, thinking about changing maybe some lifestyles a little bit and trying to incentivize them to do that all at the same time. And so that’s one of the reasons we came up with the HealthyYou wellness program, was really a way to help our employees. Not only to help them but to help us control our skyrocketing healthcare costs too,” says Seinwandt.

The money for the Fitbits would come from the wellness budget.

The board will consider the proposal at Tuesday’s school board meeting. It begins at 5:45 p.m.


  • Casey

    Are you kidding me???? $375,000 is a lot of money to spend on adults that should already know how to get off their duffs and MOVE! You ahve $375,000 then you can spend ON THE KIDS to EDUCATE THEM!!! Remember the kids? The resason you are there???

  • Sue

    Ok, I do understand Cody and Casey’s points.
    I have worked on wellness committees in companies in the past. Health insurance premiums are skyrocketing. how much they go up each year is sometimes based off of how much insurance you used the previous year, much like car insurance, use it and your rates increase. Our health insurance provider comes in and does health screenings of our entire company every year and uses that data to determine our premiums. By showing that they are getting their employees to partake in healthier activities, and actually improving the overall health of the employees, the DMPS could actually save much, much more on their insurance premiums then what this is going to cost them. It is an investment.
    And you can say that the employees SHOULD be getting up and getting active without the company having to do this. You are right, but, a lot of people don’t. Believe me, you would be shocked to see how hard some companies have to work to get people to do ANYTHING remotely good for them. But a healthier employee shows up for work more and is more productive when they are there. so, its good for the employee personally and it is good for the company.

    • Marlo

      I understand your comment Sue, however what does that have to do with taxpayers money? Our company also does health screening. If you don’t get the numbers that “they” consider healthy, then either you get to those numbers or you pay more for health insurance. That is the bottom line. The DMPS need to start paying for their health insurance. Also, it won’t matter, the teachers almost always take all of their sick leave. They consider it vacation time. I know this for a fact.

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