Creating a Culture of Wellness

October 27, 2011 by Kathy Nellor

In quoting Dr. Dee Edington, one of our foremost researchers and advocates for managing and improving health and well being in the U.S. workforce, “The purpose of worksite wellness is not to change people, but to change the culture.”

This statement makes me stop and think more about myself as a professional and also the field of workplace and community health and wellness programs.As health professionals, we all are so driven to change behaviors that sometimes we don’t stop and think about the environment our employees are working in everyday. Is the place our employees and friends work and live supportive in making the healthy choice the easy choice?

Dee Edington said that in order to grow healthy crops, we must first till the earth that we plant the seeds in. Isn’t that same thing we are trying to do with worksite wellness programs? We want our employees and loved ones to thrive and grow and be healthy. So first shouldn’t we take a good long look at the environment and culture they live, work and play? If we don’t pay attention to creating a supportive culture, we can implement the best intervention programs in the country – but without the support to make the change, people will fail miserably.

On a personal note, when I was doing my research for a presentation that I recently gave on this very topic, I realized how important it is for every one of us to take on the responsibility to create a culture of wellness in our homes. I am personally making it my duty that the following wellness norms are part of my home and the expectations I have set for my children. Why don't you choose a couple too and make them part of your home!

  • Be physically active
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Not smoke
  • Avoid alcohol and other drug abuse
  • Use preventive medicine
  • Socialize with friends and family
  • Sleep 8 hours daily
  • Practice stress management
  • Maintain a healthy weight
Tags:  culture, wellness, support, wellness norms