Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Putting wellness in the spotlight: the Innovations in Wellness Conference

One "Twitterer" poses an interesting question: could a revolution in wellness start in the Deep South? The answer: Of course it could, and experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are helping to make that happen.

Day 1 of the inaugural Innovations in Wellness Conference, hosted by UAB Wellness, has been filled with experts in the medical community speaking on topics like diabetes management in the workplace, the importance of medication adherence and how our genes predispose us to different disorders.
Stephen Russell, M.D., UAB assistant professor of internal medicine, kicked off the day with a talk aimed at educating wellness coordinators and enthusiasts about the return on investment they can realize by spending money on employee health.

"For every $1.00 a company spends on a worksite wellness program, the ROI is $3.27," said Russell, who went on to explain how important that is because the U.S. has spent $55 billion dollars on missed disease prevention opportunities.

Current American Heart Association president and chair of the UAB Department of Epidemiology, Donna Arnett, Ph.D., spoke on the importance of worksite wellness as well.

"With 80 million people employed in the U.S., worksite wellness programs can provide the framework for sustainable cardiovascular health," Arnett says.

"We are all on a continuum of health — from poor to intermediate to ideal," Arnett said. But "while 39 percent of people believe they are in ideal health, really only 1 percent are," she went on. "If they would just take simple steps — quit smoking, eat healthier and get more physically active — they could work towards ideal health."

Hate that you are missing these world-renowned experts? You don't have to! Search #UABIW12 on Twitter to hear what the experts are sharing. Also, follow @UABWellness and @UABMedicine.

About the blogger: Nicole Wyatt,, is a media specialist in the UAB Office of Media Relations. Her beat includes the School of Public Health, School of Optometry, and areas in health care and medical research.

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