OREM — In an effort to reduce health-care costs, increase health happiness and save tax dollars, Utah County has implemented a new health program for employees.

The application, created by Health Behavior Innovations, is called The Apple Program. Utah County, which began the program in January 2007, covered program costs for 2008 with savings from the previous year.

"This program is something that we as a people, across the nation, would be better off if everyone adopted it," Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson said in a statement. "It offers people the opportunity to become healthier and do so as part of a larger group while recognizing that our health is really something we should take responsibility for."

Utah County's program, Healthy Lifestyles, is directed by a worksite coordinator. County officials say the program not only benefits county employees but also county residents by cutting rising health-care costs.

All county employees have the opportunity to take part in the program, which is intended to reduce health-care costs by using health assessments, lifestyle coaches and an online tracking program. County officials hope the program will increase the priority employees give to their health.

"We have a goal to exercise and we want to be healthy," said Marianna Petersen, of the Utah County Health Department in the statement. "We stopped the bad habits and improved our health."