Hope Health Weight Biased According to Public Health Official

We recently published a feature article titled, “Choose to Lose − and Win.” It was an article on simple things people can do to lose weight. Whenever we publish a feature article, we produce a brief white paper on the subject – here’s a link to the brief “Choose to Lose and Win.”

On this particular occasion, we received an objection from a credentialed public health official on why we might be “weight biased” in our approach.

Could Wellness Programs Work Better As Part of a Financial Literacy Program?

If a foundation gave me a grant to take a first grade class, follow them through high school, and either teach them. . .

1. Money management
2. How to live a healthful life

I’d pick money management.

Health statisticians and social justice groups seem to agree that the wealthier people are, the healthier they are. Then they go onto explain why − which usually includes that the wealthier have better access to quality health care, they’re able to afford more nutritious foods, and have more available time to dedicate to maintaining a positive lifestyle. All true.

The Head Wellness Coach’s Winning Strategy For A Championship Program, Step I of 2

Athletic metaphors about business and life seem ingrained in our collective psyche. “Three yards and a cloud of dust. . . win one for the Gipper. . . just do it!” Stuff like that. So it was with little surprise that the term “Coach” found its way into wellness nomenclature.

Taking on the temporary role of Head Wellness
Coach, I’d like to share a simple but powerful strategy that may change the way you think about the game of wellness.

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the term “wellness” was just starting to be used. There was a lot of talk about “Superior Wellness and Superior Health.” Meaning health and wellness should not just be the absence of disease but a life in full motion.

 Back in the early 1980s the vision for wellness
could be summed up by these 3 goals:

#1. For individuals to achieve the full realization of mind, body, and spirit potential.
#2  To stop the progression of disease and instead make health a norm for life.
#3. For employers, wellness was to be a promise of great workplace cultures, high productivity, competitive advantage, and full engagement.

That’s the Wellness Game Plan I signed up for, back in the day.

My mentor and Coach was Louis C. Robbins, MD. See 5 Lessons From One of America’s Greatest Pioneers of Wellness and Health Promotion. He was always conscious about the difference between Primary Prevention (offense) and Secondary Prevention (defense).

He wanted health educators to strategically and consciously manage educational content and programs with a balanced attack. He knew the nation could easily get caught playing defense against diseases. And that playing defense all the time uses up too much time, energy, and resources.

The Wellness Team Locker Room

Think of the blue and green area of the infographic as your “offensive unit.” And the yellow and red areas as your “defensive unit.” A big weakness in many Workplace Wellness Game Plans are that they’re too heavily weighted in secondary prevention. We’re playing too much defense. We’ve got to get back on offense.

We’ve morphed workplaces into rehabilitation clinics for the members of our team on the injured reserve list. We’re stuck in a rut with injured players and absent offensive units. Can you imagine any team without an offense? I’ve seen a lot of workplaces that have “wellness” programs that do not have one aspect of primary prevention (lifestyle improvement) in their arsenal. All defense, and not one offensive tactic, in the play book. That’s a recipe for a losing season.

The Head Wellness Coach’s Winning Strategy For A Championship Program, Step 2 of 2

OK team, listen up! Here’s Step II of a two-step game plan for building your free Workplace Wellness program.

In Step I, we covered the importance of fighting disease with a good Secondary Prevention Defense. And we covered how to put some positive lifestyle points on the board, with a powerful Primary Prevention Offense.

Then we showed you how to access the full talent in your locker room, and how to add that new horsepower to your game.

In Step II, we’ll cover the importance of using the entire field of play. The more you utilize all the assets available to you, the more you expand and elevate your game.

Employee Wellness Incentive Programs Made Simple?

Well, I just took a week off to read the eight page Joint Consensus Statement, Guidance for a Reasonably Designed, Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program Using Outcomes-Based Incentives. It was published in JOEM (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine), Volume 54, Number 7, July 2012.

Deep breaths. We’ll work through this together.

This paper’s narrow objective is, “…to provide guidance regarding use of outcomes-based incentives as part of a reasonable designed wellness program designed to improve health and lower cost while protecting employees from discrimination and unaffordable coverage.”

See where I am going with this? Do you also find all this mumbo jumbo a bit on the difficult side?

5 Lessons From One of America’s Greatest Pioneers of Health & Wellness Promotion…

In 1979 and 1980, I practically lived with Dr. Lewis C. Robbins (deceased) and his wonderful wife, Margaret, in Indianapolis (he was about 70 years old then and I was 24).  He was my mentor and friend. At the time, he was in semi-retirement producing the first Health Risk Appraisal (HRA), then called a Health Hazard Appraisal (HHA).

He was also the former Chief of Cancer Control for the U.S. Public Health Service, and one of the key people responsible for getting warning labels placed on cigarette packages, which occurred in the 1960s.

What I remember most about this very special man was his passion for preventing disease, and seeing people live a life of full potential. His vision was positive, can do, and competitive!

3 Key Building Blocks to FREE Workplace Wellness Programs

I think most businesses can now have great wellness programs without putting out a penny of cash. But how can I make such a radical statement when so many wellness programs cost $100 to $650 or more per employee per year (PEPY)?

There are now 3 key building blocks a business can use to implement a topnotch wellness program with no cash outlay. The evolution of this has advanced so fast, that it’s time to re-evaluate the entire structure of wellness programming.

 Use These 3 Key Building Blocks to Implement a FREE Wellness Program at Your Worksite

1. Community Resources: local organizations like hospitals, farmers’ markets, grocers, restaurants, sporting organizations, retailers, and others know that education and engagement are the sustainable ways to build a loyal following in today’s highly competitive environment. And they’re reaching out – Big Time!

Wellness Programs for Small Workplaces Can be FREE, Easy-to-Implement, and Lower Risk

If you drop a big wellness program into your small business, your employees will think you’ve lost your mind. A small business offers more of a family atmosphere than a big workplace. Thus, the approach can and must be different − and creative.

Big Wellness Needs To Comply
With Federal Privacy Regulations

A big wellness program comes with a long list of growing regulations and liability issues. Wellness programs that incorporate secondary prevention (screening and intervention) and tertiary care (disease management) are in the business of practicing medicine in the eyes of the U.S. Federal Government and its regulatory agencies (in my opinion).

If the latest zombie movie or Stephen King novel didn’t scare the hell out of you, try sitting in on one of the hundreds of webinars that address “being in compliance with HIPAA, GINA and PPACA” with your wellness program. There are an increasing amount of federal regulators and trial attorneys watching workplace wellness practices.

A small business may want to lower healthcare costs as much as possible. But there should be more interest in helping people improve health, productivity, and enjoyment of their work and life. And there is no need to become a paralegal to promote wellness at your small workplace.

The Next Steve Jobs of Wellness and Fitness Is Pushing A Mop Right Now − And He’s Mad!

I was headed home from a short trip the other day, and decided to pull over at a gym I happened to spot. It was a good time to sneak in a workout. While I was changing clothes there was a young man in the locker room mopping the floor. I asked him how he liked the gym. A simple enough question. He leaned on that mop, screwed his face a couple of different ways, pointed at me and took off. . .

  • “I tried to get in this place and workout when I was 17. But they wouldn’t let me in until I was 18. I am 19 now. I knew more about working out and health than anybody working here, and I couldn’t get in the door. Now can you even believe that?
  • “So now I work here, but they’re doing this fitness stuff all wrong, everywhere. I am going to change all that. I am saving up my money and I am going to open my own place. Hell, I’ll be a millionaire by the time I am 30, but that isn’t why I am saving up. I just know my place will be popular

Are Workplace Wellness Ph.D. Experts For Real?

Really, who are these people? They dominate the seminar podiums and the Webinar world. They tell us the rules of the wellness road as they’ve established those rules. They use words and phrases like scientific evidence, ROI, HRA, achievable outcomes, risk factors, incentives, and best practice standards.

They throw mind-boggling numbers around like Frisbees®. They talk about wellness like it was an early 20th century assembly line. And they define the phrase “comprehensive wellness program” for us. I suppose that’s just in case we’re thinking of hiring a Carnival Barker or Snake Oil Salesman to advise us on healthful living?