Wellness is described as a healthy lifestyle beyond any identified acute illness. It refers to a state of physical health in which people have the ability and energy to do what they want to or enjoy in life without chronic suffering.
Although wellness means something different at every stage of life, wellness is primarily supported through good habits of eating and physical activity that ultimately leads to positive health outcomes.
With NEXDINE Hospitality’s holistic wellness approach through Live Forward and CORFINITY we allow employers to take that next step in supporting their colleagues, clients, guests, residents, and patients. Within our business dining verticals, there is a correlation between wellness programs and the success of the organization.
A study through Gallup shows that work influences home life, and home life influences work. Therefore, it’s crucial for employers to recognize the powerful benefits of taking a more holistic approach to taking care of the whole person, not just the employee. Statistics show improving wellbeing can have significant implications for business outcomes. For example, teams that believe their organization cares about their wellbeing perform better on several metrics, including customer engagement, profitability and productivity, turnover, and safety incidents.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Eating an appropriate mix of foods from the food groups and subgroups within an appropriate calorie level is important to promote health at each life stage. Each of the food groups and their subgroups provides an array of nutrients, and the amounts recommended reflect eating patterns that have been associated with positive health outcomes. Foods from all the food groups should be eaten in nutrient-dense forms.
The core elements that make up a healthy dietary pattern include:
- Vegetables of all types—dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables
- Fruits, especially whole fruit
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grain
- Dairy, including fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and/or lactose-free versions and fortified soy beverages and yogurt as alternatives
- Protein foods, including lean meats, poultry, and eggs; seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy products
- Oils, including vegetable oils and oils in food, such as seafood and nuts
Food as Medicine
When it comes to health, clearly food is a significant component. Diet can contribute to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. In fact, diet contributes to one in every five deaths globally. In addition, there are other health conditions associated with food, including intolerance and allergies, nutritional deficiencies, and digestive health. In the United States, over 48 million households have a member with a health condition that needs to be managed through diet. These households represent 60% of Americans and nearly US$270 billion in annual grocery sales, according to Nielsen data, in research published jointly by the Food Industry Association (FMI) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. According to the chart to the right, 78% of consumers believe that the right foods can keep or prevent certain health problems. Utilizing the Live Forward platform, you an combat the statistics, 62% of consumers cite conflicting information and confusion about the healthfulness of specific foods. Employers need to realize that their consumers see potential benefits from food and education as components to their wellness strategy.
The Realities of Physical Activity
Being physically active is one of the most important actions that people of all ages can take to improve their health. About $117 billion in annual health care costs and about 10 percent of premature mortality are associated with inadequate physical activity (not meeting the aerobic key guidelines). In fact, the graph to the left outlines the percentage of U.S. Adults who met the aerobic and muscle strengthening guidelines. As you can see there is much room for improvement and should be included in wellness programs such as LIVE FORWARD and CORFINITY.
High volumes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity appear to remove the excess risk of all-cause mortality that is associated with high volumes of sitting. Very low time spent sitting reduces but does not eliminate, the risk of no moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Given the high levels of sitting and low levels of physical activity in most of the US population, most people would benefit from both increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and reducing time spent sitting. In fact, globally only 1 in 4 meet recommended physical activity recommendations.
What is Physical Fitness?
Physical fitness refers to the ability of your body systems to work together efficiently to allow you to be healthy and perform activities of daily living. Being efficient means doing daily activities with the least effort possible. For example, a physically fit person can perform schoolwork, meet home responsibilities, and still have enough energy to enjoy sports and other leisure activities. A fit person can participate in typical life tasks such as raking leaves at home, stocking shelves at a part-time job, and marching in the band at school.
There are five components of physical fitness that contribute to health-related physical fitness as they have shown that they can reduce your risk of chronic disease and promote good health and wellness. These parts of fitness are body composition, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, muscular endurance, and muscular strength. Some benefits are immediate, like improved mood, sleep, insulin sensitivity, and blood pressure. Other benefits are noticeable after a few months, like increased muscle mass, strength, flexibility, and lung capacity. In addition, numerous studies have found that being physically fit protects against many diseases and health issues including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, dementia, and certain types of cancer, just to name a few.
- Cardiovascular endurance: the ability to perform exercises at moderate-to-vigorous intensities for a prolonged period.
- Muscular strength: how much force your muscles can exert or how heavy weights they can lift.
- Muscular endurance: the ability of your muscles to sustain exercise for a period.
- Flexibility: the ability to move muscles and joints through a full range of motion.
- Body composition: your body’s ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass like muscle and bone.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It complements the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a joint effort of HHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Together, the two documents provide guidance for the public on the importance of being physically active and eating a healthy diet to promote good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Throughout the Guidelines, reference is made to four levels of aerobic physical activity: inactive, insufficiently active, active, and highly active. This classification for adults is useful because these categories are related to how much health benefit a person obtains at a given level and how to become more active.
- Inactive is not getting any moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity beyond basic movement from daily life activities.
- Insufficiently active is doing some moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity but less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity or the equivalent combination. This level is less than the target range for meeting the key guidelines for adults.
- Active is doing the equivalent of 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. This level meets the key guideline target range for adults.
- Highly active is doing the equivalent of more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. This level exceeds the key guideline target range for adults.
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:
Key Guidelines for Preschool-Aged Children
- Preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development.
- Adult caregivers of preschool-aged children should encourage active play that includes a variety of activity types.
Key Guidelines for Children and Adolescents
- It is important to provide young people with opportunities and encouragement to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.
- Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily:
- Aerobic: Most of the 60 minutes or more per day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
- Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
- Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
Key Guidelines for Adults
- Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.
- For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.
- Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
- Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
Guidelines for Older Adults
- The key guidelines for adults also apply to older adults. In addition, the following key guidelines are just for older adults:
- As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
- Older adults should determine their level of effort for physical activity relative to their level of fitness.
- Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.
- When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
Health Benefits Associated with Regular Physical Activity
There are numerous health benefits associated with regular physical activity from children through adulthood. Children and Adolescents will benefit from the following:
- Improved bone health (ages 3 through 17 years)
- Improved weight status (ages 3 through 17 years)
- Improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness (ages 6 through 17 years)
- Improved cardiometabolic health (ages 6 through 17 years)
- Improved cognition (ages 6 to 13 years)*
- Reduced risk of depression (ages 6 to 13 years)
Adults and older adults will benefit from the following:
- Lower risk of all-cause mortality
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke)
- Lower risk of hypertension
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of adverse blood lipid profile
- Lower risk of cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach
- Improved cognition*
- Reduced risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease)
- Improved quality of life
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced risk of depression
- Improved sleep
- Slowed or reduced weight gain
- Weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake
- Prevention of weight regain following initial weight loss
- Improved bone health
- Improved physical function
- Lower risk of falls (older adults)
- Lower risk of fall-related injuries (older adults)
Physical Activity as Preventative Care
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, just 11 minutes of moderate physical activity per day may lower premature death risk in individuals. Through one of the largest studies thus far, researchers analyzed data from nearly 200 studies involving a total of more than 30 million participants from around the world, who self-reported their activity levels for at least three years. The team then looked at the association between physical activity and 22 distinct health outcomes, including 14 different types of cancer. The results indicated that people who were moderately active for 75 minutes per week had lower risks of overall mortality, heart disease, stroke, and various cancers relative to people who were not active. “The researchers estimated that 1 in 10 premature deaths, defined by the World Health Organization as deaths between ages 30 and 70, tallied in their analysis could have been prevented if everyone had engaged in moderate physical activity for 75 minutes per week”. In fact, that is only half the amount of exercise recommended by the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Therefore, it is crucial to incorporate physical activities like hiking, walking briskly, cycling to work or playing actively with their children.
Through another study, researchers at the University of Sydney analyzed a collection of data from around 25,000 people in the U.K. who wore activity trackers to analyze their statistics. In 89% of those people, the analysis found, exerted themselves through daily activities like climbing flights of stairs, running for the bus, or carrying heavy groceries. The researchers defined this type of heart-rate-raising movement as “vigorous activity.” Just one to two minutes of such activity three to four times daily, the results showed, was associated with an up to 40% lower risk of death over the course of seven years, relative to the people who did not engage in any vigorous activity. The risk of dying from heart disease was reduced even further: up to 49%. Therefore, it’s crucial for employers to include physical activity as an integral component to their approach to wellness.
Creating Your Wellness Brand
NEXDINE’s comprehensive health & wellness platform, Live Forward, focuses on three distinct paths to influence the wellness of our customers: Diet and Nutrition, Fitness, and Education. NEXDINE has developed programs to impact the five dimensions of wellness; physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual for a truly holistic approach. To maximize an overall healthy eating pattern to aid these conditions as well as prevent them from occurring in the first place, NEXDINE has established healthy alternative menu options that can be ordered as part of the regular dining experience.
Although many areas of the NEXDINE Hospitality business we have Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who primarily focus on providing Medical Nutrition Therapy to our patients and residents within our Healthcare and Seniors facilities. Therefore, education is key to influencing all areas within NEXDINE. We want to ensure our clients, colleagues, guests, etc. have access to the most up-to-date nutrition and physical fitness information to better their lives. We not only strive to offer items on our menus that follow Live Forward nutritional parameters but also to provide educational tools for a healthy lifestyle. In fact, according to Feeding America, nutrition education is any combination of educational strategies, accompanied by environmental supports, designed to facilitate voluntary adoption of food choices and other food- and nutrition-related behaviors conducive to health and well-being. Nutrition education is delivered through multiple venues and involves activities at the individual, community, and policy levels.
NEXDINE also promotes physical fitness through our CORFINITY brand. CORFINITY is how to incorporate movement into day-to-day activities. CORFINITY is ideal for clients with fitness centers that want additional offerings to their colleagues, guests, patients, and residents. CORFINITY is a NEXDINE program that encompasses physical activity and fitness along with education within healthcare, senior living, higher education, K-12, and corporate dining spaces.
CORFINITY allows clients to create and offer a flexible plan for their employees, clients, residents, and patients in the following ways:
- Health Risk Assessments which include virtual and in-person screening sessions with goal-setting workshops.
- Lifestyle Assessments that provide time management skills, behavior modification, and work-life balance coaching.
- Creating a fitness program tailored to your current level of physical activity and abilities.
- Identifying diet modifications to ensure clients are enjoying a balanced diet. Establishing 1:1 counseling sessions with Registered Dietitian Nutritionists or Health Coaches to establish and monitor your goals.
- Reviewing progress tracking through wearables and various applications.
- Creating a cadence of group classes that focus on mindfulness and movement.
NEXDINE Hospitality uses a wide range of education strategies to promote and encourage healthy food choices and behaviors. There is no “one-size fits all” model for delivering nutrition or physical activity education, nonetheless, there are some widely accepted nutrition education and public health best practices. These include, but are not limited to, focusing on specific behaviors rather than knowledge alone; involving active participation on the part of the learners through a variety of teaching methods; and addressing the motivations, needs and interests of the target audience. While each of these strategies can be used alone, they have the maximum impact when used together to simplify and reinforce core messages. Thus, creating two customizable programs through Live Forward and CORFINITY for each client to achieve optimal impact.
Garcia L, Pearce M, Abbas A, et al. Non-occupational physical activity and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality outcomes: a dose–response meta-analysis of large prospective studies British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 28 February 2023. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2022-105669
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U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018