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Wellness Promoters Now Agree: Wellness Doesn’t Work

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

If enough wellness promoters keep insisting wellness fails, at some point we are going to have to believe them.

Usually we publish our own arguments against wellness. But today I posted a blog on Insurance Thought Leadership (ITL) that sums up the wellness promoters‘ arguments against workplace wellness instead.  You can read it in its entirety here.  It’s a bit “straighter” than our usual biting wit, since ITL, like Quizzify, is a standalone corporate enterprise rather than an individual hobby.

And TSW is indeed a personal hobby of mine (and Vik’s), not a cash cow. The second most frequent question* I get is: “How do you make money off this site?” The answer is I usually don’t, but almost every time a company sues a vendor or consultant, I become the expert witness, which is profitable — and, I might add, invariably successful. Cases never even get to trial. Why? Well, you’ve seen how smart these people are in everyday life. Trust me when I tell you they don’t exactly grow a brain during depositions.  Plus they aren’t allowed to lie.

*The most frequent question I get is: “How did you get to be so tall?”


Highlights of the ITL piece, in case you’ve worn out your click-through button from all our other blog posts, would be as follows. For the most part, they are just a summary of what you already know:

  1. Ron Goetzel says most programs fail. (This is new as of last Friday.)
  2. Michael O’Donnell says most programs fail.
  3. Michael O’Donnell’s own meta-analysis says, when measured using an RCT design, programs fail
  4. Michael O’Donnell also offered a math lesson showing that employees working out during business hours fails to save money. It actually costs $5200/employee/year.
  5. The HERO Report shows a hypothetical of program economics, failing.
  6. At HERO’s insistence, we substituted more realistic numbers from Mr. Goetzel…and dramatically increased the loss.
  7. The most recent award-winning program, McKesson, admits it failed (as most of the previous award-winning programs did).
  8. The vendor that insists companies should publicly report how many fat employees they have, couldn’t get its own employees to lose weight.
  9. The most expensive, presumably gold-plated, program failed. (And that’s before adding the $500/employee program expense.)

Further, the promoters are starting to admit that maybe, just maybe, I am — as Michael O’Donnell eloquently put it — not an idiot.

In the immortal words of the great philosopher Pat Benatar, hit me with your best shot.

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