Changing Behavior in High-Risk Populations with a Focused Coaching Program
At GoPivot, we work with employers every day to create customized wellness and engagement programs to help their entire employee population make lasting behavior changes that lead to a healthier, more productive life. For high-risk populations, including employees with chronic conditions, it’s often necessary to create focused, one-to-one programming to incite change. At GoPivot, our six-month FitWarrior program is designed to do just that.
In this post, we’ll talk about the prevalence of chronic disease among employee populations in the US, the related costs to employers, and how our proven, targeted approach helps them to sustain more healthy lifestyle choices – long-term.
What is Chronic Disease?
Chronic diseases, as defined by the CDC, are conditions that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention, and/or limit daily activities. Chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.
What’s scary is that around 40% of our population has one or more chronic conditions, and most of the time, these conditions are either completely preventable or reversible. Most chronic conditions are prevented by avoiding a couple of key risk behaviors: smoking, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol, and lack of physical activity.
Don’t be a statistic. By making a couple of lifestyle changes, you can not only greatly reduce your likelihood of getting a chronic disease, but you can also improve your quality of life.
How much does Chronic Disease Cost Employers?
Health Care costs from chronic conditions are $3.5 trillion every year. That’s billions and billions of dollars to employers in workers comp and related costs, incidentals, absenteeism due to illnesses, diminished productivity, worker turnover, and more.
That’s a lot of money, and it’s all due to preventable or poorly managed chronic health conditions.
So how do you treat Chronic Illness?
As an employer, it’s tricky to figure out how to effectively tackle chronic conditions among your workforce.
On the one hand, you know that most chronic conditions are completely preventable, and the others can be managed with proper health care. On the other hand, you’re not a doctor, and you can’t handhold or micromanage all of your employees.
That’s where corporate wellness programs come in. Studies show that 46% of worksites currently have a health promotion program in place, however, many of these programs come up short by failing to engage employees and drive real change.
GoPivot focuses on Total Wellness.
Total wellness focuses on the whole person and is the idea that, if we don’t consider all of these components at once, we can’t truly tackle the root cause of illness.
Believe it or not, one of the biggest contributors to unhealthy weight gain is poor sleep. Whereas lack of exercise is the primary cause of chronic disease. Getting out and moving every day can mean the difference in managing your chronic condition.
As employers, there is a massive opportunity here to make this total wellness approach part of our programs. Not only is there is a lot of room for growth, movement, and change, but as you’ve seen, there’s money to be saved.
Sounds great, but how do you put it into action?
Our experts have determined that you have to know where and whom to target, in order to make the biggest impact.
In this bell curve, you can see that the ‘low’ category are those people with existing chronic illnesses, and the ‘high’ category are your marathon runners and people already in great shape. The middle section is the majority of the population and the easiest group to target with a wellness program, as those people fall under the category of preventable illness, but what about the other two sides?
For the high-risk population, it’s fundamental when tailoring a wellness program, to understand where each person is starting out from a health perspective, and how to effectively engage and support those people on their wellness journey.
For a program to be successful, it’s crucial to have variety. Consider this bell curve and where the different people in your population are starting out, so you have activities designed for each level.
Engaging high-risk populations through FitWarrior
The FitWarrior Program is an intensive six-month behavior modification program designed to motivate employees to make positive changes that lead to a healthier lifestyle. It combines GoPivot’s exercise and nutrition features with one-on-one guidance from our FitCoaches.
There are a few reasons why the FitWarrior program is successful in driving lasting change among its participants.
- It’s a team environment – people are connecting with one another, commiserating and offering support when it inevitably gets hard, and offering companionship.
- The duration of the program is 6 months. Quick diet fads, and 21 days to your goal ploys don’t work; they are often extreme and unsustainable for any real length of time. When thinking about illness, it often took a long time to get there, and it’s going to take some time to get out. This program sticks with participants; it’s supportive and it’s supportive for long enough to make a lasting impact.
- Diagnostics. FitWarrior gathers the stats – pre and post biometrics, Fit-In measurements, and more. There have to be accurate diagnostics to determine where a person is and what the right fit is for them in terms of a training program. One size does not fit all.
- Everyone has a coach. A coach is assigned to each team and is available every day of the week for weekly checkins, emails, phone calls, team meetings, and any means of support and encouragement necessary.
- The application process. Not only is it important to gather diagnostic and lifestyle information about participants, but FitWarrior also has each person complete an essay on why they want to be a FitWarrior. This helps the coaches determine what a person’s motivation is for wanting to get healthy – and motivation is everything.
Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic Motivation is any reason we do the work other than the joy of doing the work itself – a.k.a. any external factor motivating us. An example of someone who is extrinsically motivated is someone who may be looking for a quick fix with a deadline – “I want to lose 25 lb. by my class reunion on this date.”
Intrinsic Motivation is performing activities because you enjoy the activity itself, or because it will be internally satisfying for you, you’re not doing it for an external reward. A person who is intrinsically motivated might say, “I’m 52, my mom died at 53 from a heart attack and I’m walking in her footsteps right now. I’m pre-diabetic, I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and my daughter just had her first baby. I’m scared that if I don’t change my life, I won’t get to see my granddaughter grow up.”
When understanding high-risk populations, knowing what their motivation is to get healthy, is crucial in determining an effective wellness program.
The FitWarrior program is designed so that every step of the way, the participants are not only exercising but learning the life skills necessary to maintain these changes.
The average FitWarrior:
- Loses 28 pounds
- Increases their FitScore by 65%
- Reduces medications
- Has more energy
- Has a new tribe, a new community
- A renewed, positive outlook on life