Keenan Blog

The goal of the Keenan Blog is to provide a forum where we can come together to discuss issues and cultivate the solutions that will have a meaningful impact on your organization.

The Cure for What Ails You

“How would you like to avoid major illness throughout your life, or at least until your mid-80’s? I know that I would!”

That bold statement was the gist of an inspirational, motivational and informative keynote address at the 2013 Keenan Summit given by Dr. David Hunnicutt, President of the Wellness Council of America. His presentation covered several intriguing topics like extending longevity, compressing morbidity, and developing an effective worksite wellness program. Click here to view the full presentation online.

His key revelation was the statement that “there is no pill available today that can cure as much as walking 30-45 minutes per day, all or most days of the week.” He noted that people living into their mid-80s and generally free from major health risks report that they walk most days of the week and eat a balanced diet. These are incredibly simple yet impactful actions that you and I might think could have little to no major effect. But, in fact, research is showing that basic activities such as walking regularly and eating whole foods can indeed affect our overall health and quality of life.

Dr. Hunnicutt then moved on to the “compression of morbidity.” This powerful idea suggests that the burden of lifetime illness can be delayed or compressed. The result? Significantly improved health over a majority of one’s lifetime. How did he suggest we could postpone the onset of chronic infirmity? You guessed it, regular exercise partnered with a healthy diet.

These ideas are gaining momentum throughout the country, and companies are embracing the idea of creating a culture of wellness within their organizations. But how do you go about developing an effective Worksite Wellness Program? Dr. Hunnicutt broke it down into 6 steps:

  1. Identify the current culture of the employee base you’re trying to engage. Is the culture fragmented, networked, communal, mercenary?
  2. Identify the health status of your population.
  3. Identify one priority for your wellness initiative. Is it weight loss, smoking cessation, stress relief, increased exercise?
  4. Set a standard of measurement. Don’t be afraid to benchmark your program against what is currently in the marketplace.
  5. Link the wellness initiative to your benefit plan design.
  6. Over-communicate your wellness initiative by a factor of 10 to drive participation.

Dr. Hunnicut concluded his keynote speech with a very moving and inspirational video.

If you would like to find additional resources for establishing a successful wellness program at your organization, please visit the KeenanWell website.