Originally published by Jeff Ruby on August 30, 2017 in Employee Benefit Adviser
There are a lot of corporate “wellness” programs to choose from these days. All of them come with the promise of helping employees get more engaged and live healthier. Workers are also inundated with information about wellness and weight-loss programs outside of the office that carry promises of pounds lost and diseases averted.
Despite the multitude of choices, engagement is lacking and our waistlines continue to expand, putting us at risk for developing metabolic syndrome which can lead to a myriad health issues including obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
A recently released Center for Disease Control and Prevention report found that more than 100 million Americans are living with prediabetes or diabetes. Cardiovascular disease remains the number one preventable cause of death each year.
Compound this with the fact that approximately half of overweight or obese adults referred to a weight loss program fail to achieve a goal of 5-10% of their starting body weight. And even if they do, nearly 90% of participants are likely to regain the weight after 12 months.
The picture is clear: The one-size-fits-all approach to wellness and weight loss is failing America and the results are taking a major toll on both our health and the nation’s wallet.
Effective disease prevention programs, research suggests, need to be highly personalized if they’re to help participants succeed and reduce health risks.
Precision health is a hyper-personalized lifestyle intervention and personalized wellness coaching approach that combines the right nutrition, exercise, and behavior management. It is proving to be a highly effective alternative to fixed-curriculum weight loss and disease prevention programs.
Imagine if your disease prevention program took into consideration what motivates you as an individual – understanding your inner workings – right down to how your genetic makeup impacts your ability to gain and lose weight. That is what precision health is all about – gathering as much knowledge as possible to craft a bespoke program for each participant that maximizes the opportunity for positive results and compels the user to want to stick with it.
Ultimately, the best workplace health program is one employees can and want to commit to. That requires developing a plan that centers on their personality, motivation, readiness to change, needs and preferences. Couple that with personalized wellness coaching, and workers have a better chance of attaining their goals and remaining motivated.
At the end of the day, everyone is unique – shouldn’t each person’s wellness program be too?