How We’re Building a Healthier Nation, One Customer at a Time
Kristy AppelhansM.S., NMD – Sr. Director, Global Consumer Safety
Americans can do better when it comes to health and preventing illness. According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), we perform poorly on most measures of health, such as obesity and chronic disease, compared to our peers in other high-income nations.
The vision of the APHA is to create the healthiest nation in one generation, but to do that, we need to make healthy choices as a whole society, and this starts with each individual.
Joining the Conversation on Public Health
As a premier nutrition company, we were happy to be a part of the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo, not only as a sponsor but also as an active participant. It was an opportunity for us to share our expertise in nutrition and contribute to the APHA’s efforts.
At the APHA Wellness Center, I volunteered to give wellness consultations for the conference attendees, learning about their personal health and wellness goals and helping them craft a plan to achieve those goals.
It never ceases to amaze me that a cookie-cutter approach cannot be used when it comes to wellness goals, and best results are achieved through a personalized approach, which includes a change in diet and lifestyle. Extra support and encouragement from friends and family are incredibly helpful for individuals to stay committed to the changes they need to make.
As coaches to their customers, our independent distributors help their customers stay on a path to reach their wellness goals and help make healthier food and lifestyle choices, using tools, training and educational materials developed by experts in nutrition, health, and fitness.
Why Prevention Is the Better Solution
According to the APHA, about 50 percent of Americans suffer from preventable, chronic diseases, which is the leading cause of death and disability in the nation. Unfortunately, the U.S. spends more money on health care than any country in the world, but only three percent of health care dollars are spent on prevention.
We believe that prevention is the better solution.
The city of Fontana’s Healthy Fontana program is an excellent case report to demonstrate the importance of prevention. Through the Healthy Fontana program, which includes a range of nutrition and exercise programs, the city has experienced a 46% reduction in hospitalization rates for obesity-related diseases and a 47% reduction in obesity rates. We are one of the partners for the Healthy Fontana program, providing the community with nutrition education and supporting community fitness events.
Public-private partnerships like these are critical to creating change. When our goals are aligned to improve the overall wellness of our communities, we as a society can truly make waves.
How Our Social Networks Influence Our Health
Many factors influence our health, from our neighborhoods to environmental and socio-economic factors. According to the American Journal of Public Health, our social networks influence how we eat and what we eat. So, if we surround ourselves with peers who eat healthily and exercise regularly, we will likely do the same.
Returning to our city of Fontana example, more than 2,000 people have committed to walking daily, as part of their Fontana Walks! initiative. Two years later, the community as a whole has walked more than 6.7 billion steps, which is equivalent to 3.3 million miles.
Community-based programs involving social support have shown to be effective, whether it be losing weight or increasing physical activities. We also see this power in our nutrition clubs, where our independent distributors lead their communities to come together and invest in their health and wellness.
Nutrition clubs are small businesses owned and operated by independent distributors, where customers are invited to enjoy nutritious products, while also enjoying a community centered around an active, healthy lifestyle.
Nutrition clubs create these spaces where individuals can take steps to make healthier choices, staying active and benefiting from a supportive network of positive, likeminded people. This is the power of community at work, and it is our way of moving us towards a healthier nation.