What is Wellness? According to David B. Ardell, PhD and wellness advocate, "Wellness is a choice to take responsibility for the quality of your life. It is a mindset, a deep-rooted value or principal. If acted upon, wellness, will give you great satisfaction and high levels of well-being". For some, wellness is a state of mind and for others it is a physical state. For most businesses however it is a means to an end. Healthy employees can perform better, are more content and less likely to become injured. Workplace health promotion consists of an ongoing effort to optimize individual and organizational wellness. UCI's Workplace Health Promotion information guide defines health promotion as "the science and art of helping people change their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health", which involves the whole person. The guide defines optimal health as "a balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual health."
Among wellness professionals, safety has had a significant roll in wellness in the workplace for many years. Their opinion is based on research and statistical data from many major corporations with ongoing Wellness programs. There is more and more research that supports the need for businesses to incorporate Wellness into their ongoing safety efforts. These studies focus on the use of exercise programs in preventing musculoskeletal injuries, stress reduction and mental wellbeing. This is an area that has been long overlooked by safety professionals and for that matter the entire safety community, however with all the overwhelming evidence that wellness can help to prevent industrial injuries, the need for safety professionals to educate themselves on the how to assist their clients is imperative.
The first Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health (1996) notes:
People of all ages can improve the quality of their lives through a lifelong practice of moderate physical activity." The same report also states that "more than 60 percent of American adults are not regularly physically active. In fact, 25 percent of all adults are not active at all." With modern technology, (i.e. Internet, E-mail, computer games) and a society that is continually developing faster, better, more convenient ways of doing business and buying goods and services it is not surprising that the diet and health club industries are booming. We claim to be too busy to exercise and continually seek ways to avoid "doing it ourselves".
Recent studies by the American Red Cross indicate that a one out of five adult in the U.S. is overweight. 20 to 30% are in the obese range. According to the Journal of Epidemiology, children weigh more today then in 1973. High fat diets (fast food) and lack of exercise are the causes cited.