Health Program Saving WKU money

By: Courtney Lassiter
By: Courtney Lassiter

Health care costs are rising but WKU plans to save.

As the cost of health care rises, Western Kentucky University is looking to save.

A health program at the university is not only benefiting faculty but it's saving money.

The wellness program is offering exercise, healthy eating habits and a class to help faculty quit smoking.

Studies say quitting unhealthy habits, like smoking cut down on sick days and doctor visits, ultimately saving money to the insurance providers.

Brad Wheeler is a CPA for Western Kentucky University. He used to smoke a pack and a half a day but not anymore.

"Four months, nine days, 13 hours, 12 minutes," Wheeler counted. He is counting the days he's added onto his life since he's kicked his nicotine habit.

Every morning he turns on his computer and a message is the first thing he sees. It tells him how long he's gone without a cigarette and how much money he's saved.

"$699.75," Wheeler exclaimed.

A smoking class through Western Kentucky University helped him quit ... something he's tried to do four times before. Wheeler said the group support was crucial to his success.

Wellness Program Manager Doug Newton said people in the class learn how to deal with breaking the habit from each other.

"For people to show up each week and have others going through same experience, iIt matters because it's so difficult to stop smoking," Newton explained.

Wheeler said he's happier and has more energy. He even said getting up Western Kentucky University's famous hill isn't so bad anymore.

Newton said for employees who make a commitment to change their lifestyle like Wheeler, not only are their lives enriched but the university is saving on health care costs.

Wheeler agrees and said he hasn't had a sick day yet this year.

"I usually have trouble in November. I didn't have any trouble this year but that doesn't mean next I wont," Wheeler said.

To check out the website Brad Wheeler has keep track of his abandoned habit, log onto www.xavka.com.

To see more about Western Kentucky University's Wellness Program log onto www.wku.edu/wellness.


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