The Well-Being Journal

Chicago launches its innovative wellness program designed by Healthways, setting an example for the rest of the country

Jennifer Rudloff

 

Chris Cigarran and Ernie Banks Chris Cigarran, vice president at Healthways, and Cubs legend Ernie Banks celebrate the kickoff of Chicago’s new wellness program at a July 27, 2012 press conference.

This past Friday brought much excitement—both for our nation, as we began cheering on Olympic contenders, and for our company, as we cheered on the city of Chicago in the launch of its new wellness program, designed and implemented by Healthways.

Introduced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel last Friday at a press conference, the Chicago Lives Healthy program is now available to more than 47,000 city employees and their spouses/domestic partners who are eligible. It’s one of the largest, most comprehensive government wellness program ever introduced.

Aimed at helping people achieve improvements in their well-being and live healthier lives, the program offers access to a comprehensive suite of tools and capabilities through Healthways. Chicago Lives Healthy is also expected to help contain out-of-pocket healthcare expenses while saving the city and taxpayers money.

Healthways Vice President Chris Cigarran spoke at the press conference, helping introduce the groundbreaking wellness program. “It’s simple,” he said, “healthier people cost less and are more productive.” On a deeper level, he went on to say, “Chicago Lives Healthy is about making a difference in people’s lives. It’s about giving people the support they need and information they need to live more productive lives.” To hear more of what Cigarran and other speakers like Cubs legend Ernie Banks said, you can watch the video of the press conference online.

[yframe url='http://player.vimeo.com/video/46629498']

The city of Chicago also shared a press release on Friday with more details about the program. Together with the press conference, it garnered the attention of several news outlets. In the press release, Ben R. Leedle, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Healthways shared, “The program’s visionary and groundbreaking initiatives, led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will propel the city and its employees to even greater heights.”

While Chicago will see the direct impact of this program in the short and long term, it’s exciting to think about a potential ripple effect it could have across the nation (or world) as other governments take notice of the example Chicago sets. Working together toward improved well-being, we can be healthier and happier—not just in terms of our physical health, but also our financial health.

To learn more about how Healthways supports populations, visit our capabilities page.

Topics: Financial Well-Being In the News Events Government

A resolution checkup and a trend to break for a healthier second half of 2012

Jennifer Rudloff

healthy choicesWe often look at the beginning of the year as a starting point for new well-being goals. Maybe you were one of many who made such a resolution, or maybe not. Either way, this might be a great point to stop and think about it as we continue in the second half of 2012. Read on to learn why.

 

Where are you?

Maybe you are going strong in your resolution, never had interest in setting one, or are somewhere in between and need a boost of motivation. Wherever you are, you might be interested to know that research presents us with a great wellness opportunity for the second half of the year.

What the trends show

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index,® Americans on average experience a decline in healthy behaviors and physical health in the second half of the year. We can all probably name factors that influence the lack of steadiness. The well-known truth is that resolutions aren’t always easy to keep all on our own and momentum can easily fade.

What we can do about it

Well, knowledge is power. So now that we’re aware that the U.S. as a whole could be near a high point for the year in healthy behaviors and physical wellness, we can look at this as an opportunity to do something to prevent a decline. If we all make simple, positive changes, perhaps we can even reach new highs in our individual well-being all throughout the year. Think about how it would feel for you personally and what it would mean for your organization as a whole. Below are a couple ideas that could help.

  1. A simple way to get started could be making one tangible well-being improvement goal for the next 30 days, and listing some related action steps. You can do anything for 30 days, right? At the end of 30 days, evaluate your progress, and then decide if you want to continue with that goal or switch to a new one. Make sure to write down your goal, find some resources to support it, track your progress, and for best results, enlist an accountability partner (or your whole organization). By continually introducing new ideas and evaluating your progress, healthy behaviors can become habit, and therefore more of a lifestyle.
  2. Take it a step further and use Healthways as your source for scientific research and proven programs filled with a breadth of resources, tools and support. We can help identifying the unique needs of your organization, create and sustain effective engagement with individual members, and drive positive behavior change that delivers measurable outcomes for the long term. Read about our approach and our solution to learn more, or contact us.

Just a few of the programs that make up our configurable Well-Being Improvement Solution include:

  • The Healthways Well-Being Assessment™, personal Well-Being Plans online and Health Coaching over the phone
  • Prime® Fitness for access to more than 9,000 fitness centers
  • Innergy™ for sustainable weight management
  • QuitNet® for quitting tobacco
  • SilverSneakers® to help seniors boost physical and social activity

If you’re currently a member of a Healthways Well-Being Improvement Solution, you and your colleagues may already be enjoying the benefits of improved physical, mental and social well-being, as well as the financial benefits such as lower healthcare costs and fewer sick days. Maybe you want to take your program even further or get your whole community involved in an initiative, like our BlueZones Project™. Talk with your benefits manager or with us here at Healthways for strategic input.

Let’s all partner together for the greatest well-being improvement—for the second half of 2012 and for the long term.

Topics: Healthy Living Weight Loss Workplace Well-Being Engagement Well-Being Index