Reflect More, Research Less for Better Wellness Program Results

July 22, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We get to work with some really smart, hearts-in-the-right-place wellness professionals every year. But increasingly, we’re dismayed at their lack of time to stop and just think — about what they’re doing, about what they did, about what they want to do. The endless parade of meetings, conference calls, and paperwork gets interrupted only for doing more research to uncover “best practice” or the latest theory of what’s going to make all their wellness program management dreams come true.


Reality Check: Fruits, Veggies, and Weight Loss

July 14, 2014

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Pushing produce for good health has long been a workplace wellness no-brainer. But a recent study calls for a heads-up on the common claim that more fruits and veggies mean weight loss.

Researchers reviewed a large database of studies to investigate. The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no evidence that eating more produce — without reducing total calories — leads to weight loss.

Self-Fulfilling Fallacies of the Wellness Industry

July 08, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

A fallacy is a false notion… and in wellness we have many. Some we invent out of thin air then work hard to justify, while others arise from academic theories thinly supported by scientific study. Each is relatively harmless in and of itself, but added together they consume time and budgets, leaving little if any resources available for creating an environment where well-being can flourish.

What you believe may be holding you back:

  • If people understand their disease and mortality risk, they’ll naturally want to change their behavior. If 30 years of Health Risk Appraisals have taught us nothing else, it should be clear that gimmicks like risk age don’t do much to persuade people toward healthier habits. There may be other good reasons to conduct HRAs, but influencing population health isn’t one of them. Spend an afternoon reviewing medical claim data once every couple of years to confirm what you already know: People need to move more, eat more vegetables, and sleep better.

Why Your Wellness Data Matters... Hardly at All

July 08, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

When it comes to profits and loss, data matters. But in the rarefied air of executive decision making, if the organization is profitable, most all other decisions — especially the soft stuff like wellness — are based on instinct, feel, and emotion.

“But our management wants data!” Baloney.