January 15, 2014
Building on our legacy work in cancer (Re-Mission and Re-Mission 2) and obesity (Zamzee), HopeLab is increasingly focusing its efforts on resilience. We’re investigating ways to help people bounce back from adversity, improving both their psychological and physical health.
We know that psychology — i.e., our happiness, anxiety and stress, for instance — impacts health and well-being at a very fundamental level. (Ever gotten a nasty cold or the flu because you were stressed out or worried?) At HopeLab we’re trying to understand the connections between mental states and the physical body. It’s part of our strategy to design products that support healthy responses to life’s challenges, for individuals and communities.
If this sound ambitious, it is. But given the existing conditions of health and well-being in the U.S., a good thoughtful dose of ambition is exactly what’s needed.
Gallup’s top 10 health findings
Last month, Gallup editors named the top 10 most important health findings of 2013. Because they have a bearing on HopeLab’s work, I was eager to share some of them with you.
Unemployment — The single strongest predictor of depression is unemployment, being out of a job yet desiring work. This correlation holds up across all major demographics, from age and gender, to income, education, race and beyond.
Obesity — The adult obesity rate is trending upward across nearly all demographic groups and will likely surpass previously existing rates since Gallup and Healthways began tracking adult obesity in 2008.
Disengagement — Disengaged workers are 15% more likely to smoke. “Workers who smoke cost the U.S. economy $278 billion annually.”
Engagement — Employees who are engaged at work are more likely to report eating healthier, exercising more, and consuming more fruits and veggies than employees who are disengaged.
Exercise — Lack of exercise has a stronger link to obesity than eating habits and 25 other behavioral factors. This relationship is true across all major demographics.
You can see the complete list of Gallup’s findings here.