I'm feeling all wellness-oriented these days. A while back, I posted on the opinion that FitBit and similar wearables don't do a damn things for wellness. The people who exercise aren't your problem. Here's the money quote from that post:
"Well, Kris - I'll tell you the deal we learned about Fitbit. We've got over 10K employees. We've got 1K of those who are actively trying to use a Fitbit. Here's the problem - about 965 of those were people who were already into fitness - they're already working to stay in shape, etc. So I got 35 people to change their lifestyle? That's great, but there's no impact to the bottom line of my healthcare cost."
Is food calorie consumption your problem when it comes to wellness? Well, that's an interesting question for HR and wellness leaders everywhere...Here's some notes from Aaron Carroll at the New York Times:
"Think about it this way: If an overweight man is consuming 1,000 more calories than he is burning and wants to be in energy balance, he can do it by exercising. But exercise consumes far fewer calories than many people think. Thirty minutes of jogging or swimming laps might burn off 350 calories. Many people, fat or fit, can’t keep up a strenuous 30-minute exercise regimen, day in and day out. They might exercise a few times a week, if that.
A 2011 meta-analysis, a study of studies, looked at the relationship between physical activity and fat mass in children, and found that being active is probably not the key determinant in whether a child is at an unhealthy weight. In the adult population, interventional studies have difficulty showing that a physically active person is less likely to gain excess weight than a sedentary person. Further, studies of energy balance, and there are many of them, show that total energy expenditure and physical activity levels in developing and industrialized countries are similar, making activity and exercise unlikely to be the cause of differing obesity rates.
Moreover, exercise increases one’s appetite. After all, when you burn off calories being active, your body will often signal you to replace them. Research confirms this. A 2012 systematic review of studies that looked at how people complied with exercise programs showed that over time, people wound up burning less energy with exercise than predicted and also increasing their caloric intake."
Translation - controlling weight and health is easier accomplished by opting not to scarf the Snickers bar, rather than rationalizing that you'll burn it off.
We could probably make a lot more headway into wellness by offering people a variety of behavior modification techniques related to food rather than funding Fitbits.
I'm a gadget guy. FitBits are cool. But saying no to calories you don't need is where the money is at from a wellness perspective.