Leveraging Workplace and Community Networks to Keep Resolutions in 2015

By Vera Oziransky and Adriana Selwyn

The New Year is well underway and if you are like 38% of Americans, you have resolved to lose weight, eat better, and/or exercise more in 2015. Despite our best intentions however, most New Year’s resolutions fail in the long-term. Research suggests only 8% of people are successful in achieving them.

Why is this the case? It may be that the goals are unrealistic or poorly thought-out; or that while the New Year is a culturally appropriate time to commit to healthier habits, you’re not quite ready or confident to make a change.

Whatever the reason, involving a friend or family member to keep you motivated and accountable increases the likelihood of successfully making a lifestyle change.  Considering we spend the majority of our time at work, our colleagues can also serve as incentivizers and support systems. The Vitality Group is kicking off the year with the “Healthy Weight for a Healthier You” campaign – a campaign to encourage everyday habits essential to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Activities will be based around physical activity, diet quality, healthy portion sizes and risk factors for psychological distress which impact weight management, such as stress management. Employees will be rewarded for participating in activities and sharing their experiences with others among social media groups.

Despite the long hours we may all spend at work, we do operate in and are influenced by larger social networks: our local communities. If obesity can spread through social networks, then so could healthy eating, active living, and mental well-being.

Companies across the nation are recognizing that workplace health promotion alone will not suffice in addressing all the influential factors in employees’ lives. The environment in the community has to be addressed too. Kaiser Permanente, for example, is funding a first of its kind, free community program in Colorado. The Weigh and Win program utilizes technology-based coaching, shopping lists, meal and fitness plans and offers financial, outcome-based rewards to support the community in achieving their New Year’s resolution weight loss goals.

The impact of encouraging and sustaining healthy behaviors through large social networks should not be under-estimated. As was outlined in the recent JOEM article on barriers to effective workplace health promotion, lack of linkage between workplace and community health promotion is one barrier employers should strive to overcome in 2015. Companies can join the growing ranks of employers already using this powerful tool for health promotion which remains underutilized to date.


Does your company work with the community for improved health? Or is a business engaged in your community to address some of these issues? Let us know below by Tweeting us @VitalityInst.

Image credit: State of Louisiana DHH

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