The Well-Being Journal

National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy

Jennifer Rudloff

Today members of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, will release the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. This marks the beginning of America’s movement away from a healthcare system that focuses on the sick and chronically diseased, in favor of a system that will put emphasis on prevention and wellness and will help to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.

Today, 70% of chronic disease is preventable and nearly ½ of all adults have at least one chronic disease. Healthcare.gov states, “Focusing on preventing disease and illness before they occur will create healthier homes, workplaces, schools and communities so that people can live long and productive lives and reduce their healthcare costs.” Every American has a role in creating a healthier nation. Our communities, and economy will reap the rewards.

The National Prevention Strategy includes actions for the public and private sectors. The strategy outlines four strategic directions and they are as follows:

  • Build Healthy and Safe Community Environments: Prevention of disease starts in our communities and at home; not just in the doctor's office.
  • Expand Quality Preventive Services in Both Clinical and Community Settings: When people receive preventive care, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, they have better health and lower health care costs.
  • Empower People to Make Healthy Choices: When people have access to actionable and easy-to-understand information and resources, they are empowered to make healthier choices.
  • Eliminate Health Disparities: By eliminating disparities in achieving and maintaining health, we can help improve quality of life for all Americans.

So what? This is an important step for our nation. For the first time, we are seeing a visible commitment to health and well-being and a national strategy to that includes both the public and the private sectors working together to create positive change. Also, the government has a collaborative strategy in which 17 federal agencies will work together! This will help to assure cost savings and quality improvement for our citizens.

To read more about the announcement, visit:
www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets/prevention06162011a.html.

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being In the News Healthcare Health Promotion Community Prevention National Prevention Health Promotion National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy Public Health Council Preventative Services Government Health Conditions

National Employee Wellness Month

Jennifer Rudloff

The third annual National Employee Wellness Month (NEWM) kicked off on June 1st nationwide in an effort to promote existing healthy living programs and share successful strategies for corporate health initiatives. NEWM gives employers a great opportunity to jumpstart or enhance your company’s well-being programs and maybe even try out some new initiatives. If properly administered, these programs will not only have the potential to lower healthcare costs, but they will also ultimately create happier, healthier and better performing employees.

As a proud sponsor of NEWM, Healthways is implementing our own initiatives to improve our employees’ well-being on a number of levels, and encourage everyone to be healthy and social. Here are a few of the things we’ve put in place.

  • Fitness classes: We are offering our colleagues a variety of fitness classes on site to fit their schedules. They can choose to exercise before work, at lunch, or at the end of the workday.
  • ‘Workout Wednesdays,’ allow and encourage employees to wear workout gear to the office to help remove some of the barriers to exercise. We also offer additional fitness classes on these days and encourage group walks.
  • Walking workstations: our employees can get away from their desks and get moving by working from one of our walking work station treadmills.
  • Healthier and Fresher Food: In addition to providing healthy options in our Café, we’ve also startedan herb garden on site which our chef can pull from, and we offer a weekly farmers market for employees to get fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • We offer Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes to employees to help them better manage their stress.
  • All of our many web-based, telephonic coaching, and disease management programs are available to our colleagues, just going to show it is so good we eat our own cooking
  • Company sports leagues: We help employees form teams for local sports leagues. Employees often gather together at lunch to practice in the courtyard.

In addition to our own workplace initiatives, we have launched Healthways|Blue Zones Vitality Cities, a community-wide well-being improvement initiative in the Southern California’s Beach City Health District. Read more about what we’re doing to help communities.

When talking about workplace well-being initiatives, it’s important to note that success often requires a cultural shift that starts with leadership but is accepted at all levels of the organization. As discussed in a previous post, “wellbeing is highly valued by employees and a key driver in their level of job satisfaction, loyalty and motivation.” A new study finds a disconnect between employers and employees regarding wellness initiatives. The report found that 42 percent of employees say that their bosses do not look out for their physical health enough, while only 14 percent of management thinks the same. National Employee Wellness Month provides a wonderful opportunity for employers to open up a dialogue about well-being with their employees and renew their commitment to wellness in the eyes of their people.

**NOTE: Healthways was recently chosen to be one of Baltimore’s Healthiest Employers by the Baltimore Business Journal. To read about some of the initiatives that helped land us on this list, click here >>

What are some well-being initiatives you are thinking of or already have in place? What kind of wellness initiatives would you like to see implemented within your organization?

Topics: Well-Being Company Workplace Well-Being Healthcare Business Performance Health Competitive Advantage Prevention wellbeing and health How to Improve Employee Performance Health in the Workplace National Employee Wellness Month Wellness Healthways Employee Performance Improvement

How to Live Happier and Healthier Longer

Jennifer Rudloff

We launched Healthways|BlueZones Vitality Cities as a community-wide well-being improvement initiative in Southern California’s Beach Cities to help people live longer, better. Here are some facts that inspired this project and drove a community to take action:

  • Discover your Purpose: People who know why they wake up in the morning live seven years longer than those who don’t.
  • Discover and share your values: People who discover and embrace their values, passions, and talents (and share them regularly) live up to 4 years longer.
  • De-stress: Turn stress-shedding strategies into daily routines. This will help you avoid major age related diseases.
  • Eat Wisely: Those who adopt concrete health habits about their food intake live up to 8 years longer than those who don't.
  • Don’t skip your Vegetables: The healthiest cultures on earth eat a few more plants and a little less food.
  • Snack on nuts: Eating about a handful of nuts a day could add 2-3 years to your life.
  • Enjoy wine daily: Individuals who drink 1-2 glasses of wine a day outlive those who don’t.
  • Move Naturally: Find ways to make yourself walk more! Park further away, walk your dog, do your yard and house work. This can help you gain up to 4 years of life expectancy.
  • Discover a sense of belonging: Those invested in a positive, committed relationship can add up to 3 years of life expectancy.

As part of the Vitality Cities initiative, we’re helping residents of the beach cities community achieve these goals. Some of the programs we have in place include:

  • Vitality City Purpose workshops: These workshops are designed to help people understand their strengths and articulate their purpose. They help people discover new energy for life and connect individuals to volunteer opportunities where community members can apply their strengths to helping others.
  • Walking Moais: Moai comes from Okinawa, Japan and it means “meeting for a common purpose”. It originated as a way for villages to support each other in times of need. Vitality city Moai walking Teams encourage that same social support while adding the physical benefits of walking.

This initiative is just beginning and there are many more programs to come. There’s been a tremendous response from the community and local employers. The first walking Moai program has been a hit; In April more than 1000 beach cities residents formed walking teams and have been walking weekly with friends (new and old) ever since. In addition, some local employers were inspired and have launched walking moais at work. More than 200 workplace walkers at companies like AAMCO, Aerospace, Body Glove Crowne Plaza, and Redondo Beach Unified School District are participating in this program. These employers are seeing some positive cultural shifts with more enthusiastic employees at work, a greater sense of camaraderie between employees, and a greater sense of engagement in healthy choices.

Since April 1, 2011 we’ve had 32 employers who together employee 17,413 people sign on to become vitality employers with more interest every day. Since June is National Employee Wellness Month, we’d like to applaud these employers for taking this important first step to make a difference in the lives of their employers and throughout their communities.

To learn more about Vitality Cities, check out this video:

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHKWMG6FDZE']

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Healthcare Health Community Demand Vitality Prevention Beach Cities Healthways|BlueZones Vitality City Wellness Healthways vitality cities How to Live Longer Finding Happiness Blue Zones Project