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Posted August 15, 2011

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More than 11,000 APS Employees, Spouses Participate in Health Screenings

Health Risk Assessment to Replace Biometric Screening this School Year

More than 11,000 Albuquerque Public Schools employees and their spouses/domestic partners who have medical insurance through the district participated in health screenings during the past school year, saving up to $40 a month. Only about 8 percent of employees and spouses/domestic partners insured through APS declined to have a biometric screening, opting instead to pay the increased monthly premium.

The Know Your Numbers: Next Steps biometric screenings were conducted at schools and worksites as well as in doctors’ offices and labs as part of an effort by APS to keep down health care costs. The screenings provided individuals with a detailed assessment of basic health indicators including blood pressure, Body Mass Index, cholesterol, blood glucose and pulse/heart rate.

This school year, employees insured through APS will be asked to complete a comprehensive, online health risk assessment that will include information, tips and links for staying healthy. The risk assessment will take the place of the biometric screening, and those who complete it will keep their health care premiums from increasing by $20 a month per employee and another $20 a month for insured spouses/domestic partners. More details are forthcoming.

“Knowing your numbers and then assessing your risks are important steps in understanding how to make smart decisions about your health,” said Vera Dallas, director of APS Employee Benefits. “We recognize that a healthy work force not only keeps down medical costs for the district and its employees, but also has benefits in the classroom and workplace.”

A review of the combined results of the biometric screenings, based on the latest guidelines by the National Institutes of Health, indicate that many APS employees (and their spouses/domestic partners) are at risk for health problems including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.

APS results were comparable, and in some cases slightly better, than national trends. For example, according to the National Institutes of Health, one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure compared to one if four in APS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about a third of adults in the United States are overweight, as is the case in APS. However, the CDC reports that another third of Americans are obese compared to about a fourth of APS employees, spouses and domestic partners.

The aggregate results of the biometric screenings for APS employees, spouses and domestic partners show that:

Blood Pressure

  • 41% have normal blood pressure
  • 37% have elevated blood pressure and
  • 22% have high blood pressure

BMI (Body Mass Index is calculated using height and weight)

  • 35% are at a healthy weight
  • 36% are overweight
  • 25% are obese and
  • 4% are extremely obese

Body Composition (how much fat compared to muscle is in the body)

  • 5% have a low body composition
  • 45% are normal
  • 30% are high
  • 20% are very high

Cholesterol (fat-like substance that in excess can lead to heart disease)

  • 55% are in a desirable range
  • 30% are borderline high
  • 15% have high cholesterol

Triglycerides (fat in the body that can contribute to heart disease)

  • 40% are normal
  • 19% are borderline
  • 41% are at risk

Glucose (a simple sugar that in excess can lead to diabetes)

  • 53% are normal
  • 39% are high risk
  • 8% are diabetic

Employees who participated in the biometric screenings received individual results. Participation was voluntary and individual results are confidential. The APS Employee Benefits Department received an aggregate report that identified key risk areas among employees. This information enables the district to develop a wellness program that serves the needs of employees.  The results of biometric screening didn’t have an impact on premiums or health care coverage.

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