Margaret Rehayem, worksite health promotion professional and teacher, invited me to speak to her Worksite Health Promotion class at the University of Illinois at Chicago yesterday. Twenty-six enthusiastic Kinesiology and Nutrition majors inspired me with their enthusiastic desire to make a difference in the world.
I used every bit of my 90-minutes to share what I have learned about health promotion over 9 years, and introduced them to my Lean Wellness approach to transforming worksite health behaviors. It included an exercise where the class had to apply the principles of Lean Wellness. They were given a problem: “Freshman 15” (college students who add 15 pounds of weight during their freshman year) and broke into groups to develop solutions. 15-minutes later we had a variety of brilliant solutions.
One group determined the actual number of calories that had to be burned or avoided to elude the 15 lbs. Another group recommended healthier food to be served at the many gatherings that freshmen are required to attend. A third group suggested that small kitchens be added to each floor of the dorms, to encourage healthier eating and a better social environment. And, a fourth group came up with a pedometer program that incentivized people to achieve a minimum step count. All brilliant solutions! And, all the solutions were born from their experience and understanding of the problem.
The point of the exercise was to demonstrate how a bottom-up approach, driven by the people on the front lines, could lead to ownership of the problem and engagement in a solution. It worked! The students were passionate about finding answers. The Lean Wellness approach spurred numerous ideas to eradicate Freshman 15 from U.I.C.’s campus forever!
M. J. White is the creator of “Lean Wellness”, a radically different approach to transforming health and wellbeing at work. It is inspired from the top-down, but driven from the bottom-up by continuous learning and improvement. The result is lasting behavior change in people and a more productive work environment. To learn more, visit the website at: www.wellstreet.us or email M. J. directly at: email@example.com.