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Statesboro fitness drive gets national attention
NBC Nightly News follows employees movements around the Boro
082814 FIT BY 15 02 WEB
Statesboro High School Resource Officer Steve Gravley checks a device that tracks footsteps, mileage and calories burned as part the city's Fit by 15 program in this photo taken in August. Gravley says about 60 of his calories burned are in the course of his job, walking the halls of the school. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

Statesboro city employees' relentless tracking of every step they take has garnered them some national attention.

A crew from "NBC Nightly News" followed a couple of the employees as they walked around different places as part of a feature story, which is scheduled to air on Tuesday evening's newscast. "Nightly News" airs at 6:30 p.m. weekdays on WSAV-TV Channel 3.

Of course, as can happen in the news business, the story could be delayed if there is a lot of breaking news.

As previously reported in the Statesboro Herald, 63 city employees signed up for the pilot program, which began July 1 and runs through December. Each was assigned a Fitbit Zip, a watch-size wireless activity tracker worn at the waist. Monitoring steps, reporting the distance in miles and calculating calories burned, the Fitbit automatically uploads the data via Wi-Fi.

Coordinated by city Human Resources Director Jeff Grant, the Fit By '15 Challenge isn't the city's first effort to keep employees active. Two years ago, the city formed a team for local running and walking events. Last year, an incentive program was added for participation in a "Triple Crown" of 5K walk/runs.

This year's series began with the Peanut Run during the Brooklet Peanut Festival in August. The other races will be the Turkey Trot in November and Run the Boro in December.

Improving employee health awareness and building community are the two main purposes of the program, Grant has said.

But another reason is reducing the city's health insurance program costs.

After this six-month challenge ends, Grant said he plans to restart the project in January for another six months, involving more employees. Then city officials will evaluate whether to continue.


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