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wellness digest–week of january 3

January 10, 2011

in wellness digest

each week i’m rounding up the articles that intrigued me or delivered something worth noodling.

1. can facebook help addicts quit drugs?

a dutch branding company came up with the idea of creating a facebook page for an addict who wants to get clean. they’re hoping a new social network will do the trick. clever gimmick or something more?

“The idea is that by making friends online, Monica will be able to gain self confidence and new interests that will help inspire her to quit her addiction. On the page, Monica says ‘Don’t be afraid! If you decide to become my friend you will get an interesting peek into my daily life (with a maximum of two posts a day). I will NEVER ask for money or try to visit you in person. The only thing I will ask from you is your online friendship.’”

2. the mayor wants you to lose some weight

different communities are tackling health with the help of the CDC, private health-advocacy groups and one another. the solutions are wide-ranging, covering everything from air quality control to farmers markets, after-school fitness programs and “walking school buses,” an alternative to taking kids to school by car. all in all, the article underscores that there’s no silver bullet. (you knew that, right?)

“‘We can’t just tell people to lose weight and stop smoking and be more active if we aren’t supporting healthy living,’ says Dr. Santora. ‘We have to be innovative and look at the evidence of how to create healthier communities.'”

3. the price is (not) right

this article from employee benefit news reviews the findings from a new national business group on health and fidelity investments study about health programs. on average, companies have 21 different health programs. not integrated. not measured.

“Measurement is critical to gauging the value of health programs, but only 35% of employers indicate they have measurable goals and/or targets. As a result, few employers know the return on their investment across all their health programs, and many (42%) rely on a collection of vendor assessments to measure success. This approach can result in a potentially confusing array of methodologies that may overestimate the total impact.”

4. secrets of good health website design

this interview digs into what makes a health website deliver the goods. the conversation covers strategy, content, images, user testing—valuable information whether you’re creating a site or refreshing the one you have.

My biggest recommendation is to be close enough to users to know if you’re hitting the mark through processes like regular usability testing and an advisory council used to help inform feature or other strategic decisions a few times a year.

5. can sitting too much kill you?

i wrote about this before. there’s a new definition for sedentary behavior and it brings bad news: you’re no longer exempt if you shake it vigorously for one hour every day. this finding has grave implications for all of us, including those who design wellness efforts. how are we to make getting up and moving a norm in our work-a-day world?

“Up until very recently, referring to someone as sedentary meant simply that they were not meeting current guidelines for physical activity. In simple terms, if you were exercising for 60+ minutes/day, you were considered physically active. If you were exercising 10 minutes/day, you were sedentary. Case closed. But as we will discuss below, sedentary time is closely associated with health risk regardless of how much physical activity you perform on a daily basis. Further, it is entirely possible to meet current physical activity guidelines while still being incredibly sedentary. Thus, to quote researcher Marc Hamilton, sitting too much is not the same as exercising too little.”

6. with a new congress, it’s high time for some health overhaul facts

there was a ton of coverage on health care reform last week since congress was to vote on its repeal this wednesday. this article presents one view; here’s another. there are many, many more. congress has postponed the vote out of respect for the familes affected by saturday’s shooting in arizona. it’ll be back, so keep your employees clued in.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth January 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

Thanks Fran. Really enjoyed all these articles. The higher risk to those who sit a lot strikes home, since I’m sitting at a computer most of the day. Need to take regular breaks.

I remember last year you’d mentioned some tool you used to remind yourself to get up every once and a while and move. Can you remind me what that was? Do you still use it?

Maybe there’s a market for couches that give a little electrical jolt once in a while to get folks up off their keisters! 🙂

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fran January 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm

i hear you on the sitting down too much. i’ve an SMS and health app in concept. in the meantime, philips directlife is a good reminder. others have found fitbit or a simple pedometer do the trick.

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