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Central Arizona Project employees are very busy walking the entire length of the canal system, which stretches from Lake Havasu City to south of Tucson!

CAP Employees WalkingWell, not really – but 16 employee teams are taking part in the “Go the Extra Mile Challenge,” which tracks miles spent walking, running, swimming, cycling or on the elliptical or stair climber, to see who can finish 336 miles (the length of the CAP Canal system) in four months’ time.

Programs such as these are among the reasons CAP’s wellness program was recently recognized by The Phoenix Business Journal as a “Valley’s Healthiest Employer, 2018.”

CAP’s “Be Well” program focuses on: 1) improving employees’ individual health and wellness; and 2) helping to control medical and health-related costs for both employees and the organization. “Be Well” provides several challenges throughout the year. In addition to “Go the Extra Mile,”, there’s “Live Lean,” a team weight-loss and inch-loss challenge; “Step It Up,” rewarding teams of employees for stair-climbing goals; “Maintain Don’t Gain,” an individual challenge to avoid weight gain over the holidays; and a “Holiday Sleep Challenge” where individuals track their sleep habits and take steps to improve. The Wellness Program also offers an annual biometric screening and more than 100 classes each year on a variety of topics such as general nutrition and fitness and chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and hypertension.

The proof is in the numbers. Last year, 27 employees lost 5% or more of their body weight. That same year, 13% fewer employees were considered pre-diabetic, when compared with the previous year. At CAP’s most recent skin cancer screening, 55 employees participated. Of those, 12 received onsite cryotherapy and additional 11 were referred for follow-up with a dermatologist.

And, CAP has enjoyed lower-than-average increases in employee health insurance premium costs with three straight years of zero increase (2012-2014). Since then, premiums have only increased 3-4% while other Valley employers have seen increases of double that or more. Other factors such as plan changes, and prescription drug cost management have certainly played a role, but the “Be Well” program has definitely made an impact on CAP’s healthcare costs.

Even more powerful are employee success stories:

  • One employee reported a drop in body mass index of three percent each year over three years, from 25 percent down to 16 percent
  • An employee who’d been diagnosed with diverticulitis, a painful intestinal disorder, worked with CAP’s Wellness Administrator to make dietary adjustments that made enough of a difference that the employee is no longer facing surgery to remove a portion of the intestine
  • In addition to losing weight, another employee realized a 50 point drop in cholesterol rate

And support of CAP’s wellness program starts at the top. General Manager Ted Cooke not only supports the program, he participates as well and was one of the “biggest [weight] losers” of 2016. He was so inspired that in 2017, he challenged employees to “Beat the GM,” by exceeding his 10.5% weight loss. Ten employees took the challenge and lost 10.6% or more of their body weight during the four-month challenge!

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