"This wellness challenge has helped me a great deal. I was told that I was in the borderline of depression, and was told to take meds, but I got into this challenge with my coworkers and WOW it has been helping me a lot. You keep up the great work.”
It’s no secret that a fit, healthy lifestyle is a powerful anti-depressant. Being physically active is a simple, everyday habit that builds resilience and fosters mental well-being.
Perhaps your company cafeteria has a smoothie bar… now imagine a stationary bike with an attached blender where you can make your own smoothies while pedaling. And occasionally the CEO or plant manager gets on that bike and makes custom smoothies for you. Pretty cool, huh? That’s exactly what you find in a growing number of GE Healthcare’s global cafeterias serving 55,000 employees.
Blender-bikes are only a glimpse at the creativity and innovation that go into GE’s world-class model for the nutrition pillar component of their program. Jason Morgan (Director, Global Health and Wellness) shared his philosophy. “I strive to build our programs on a solid foundation of fitness and nutrition. That means putting in place the necessary resources and policies to support our global network. When we decided to focus on nutrition, our first goal was requiring 75% of all company cafeteria food options to be healthy. Stateside we define ‘healthy’ according to American Dietetic Association and other expert guidelines. Overseas, we take into consideration country-specific guidelines based on how they prepare their native food. For instance, 75% healthy looks a bit different in Singapore than the US.”
You've probably experienced the frustration of attending a presentation or class where the first half covers things you already know before you get to the new material. If so, you know how valuable the triage principle can be.
In medicine, triage is a system designed to produce the greatest benefit from limited treatment resources. In wellness, a triage system focuses resources — so those who need the most help get it, and those who need less receive less. The stages of change model outlined by Prochaska and DeClemente in the early '80s offers a framework for health promotion triage by identifying stages of readiness:
Is it national health statistics? Health risk appraisal results? Health benefit costs? Workers compensation claims?
For years, wellness managers have been using data like this to determine where to direct resources. And for good reason — each can be tied directly to costs. There’s only one problem with this approach: In most instances, the people who create the costs don’t care.
That’s a hard thing to accept. We think if we simply identify the high-cost/high-risk users, approach them with information, support what’s good for them — all while reducing the organization’s expense — they’ll naturally modify their lifestyle and we’ll all live happily ever after. Not so much.
We use 2 reality phrases when consulting with organizations about how to invest health promotion resources: