Wellness Communities Could Be The Future of Health

Rezilir health

Ame Turnberry Spa (c) H Boyce/Rezilir Health

Health behaviours are contagious, whether it is morning beach walks or sunset yoga classes, shuttles to the local farmer’s market; or even brain-health support groups.

The future of health is bright. Many experts predict that medicine will advance more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 100. Insights in medical technology, big data and systems biology are increasing our ability to have longer, healthier lives. These advances have also improved our ability to predict disease, be proactive about prevention and to personalise interventions that can impact our individual biology.

But at the same time as rapid advances in medical technology, we also see that chronic diseases — heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative conditions, and depression — are affecting modern populations at a higher rate than ever before. The reason for this paradox? Lifestyle choices and the environment all drive healthcare outcomes to a much higher degree (80 per cent) than healthcare alone possibly can (20 per cent). While your genes plant a seed in the garden, your life choices are what allows a seed to grow properly.

The one constant we see is that it is difficult to get people to make consistent healthy lifestyle choices. The defaults in our society are tilted towards unhealthy, convenient options. Over 60 per cent of the calories eaten in the standard US diet — high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, and industrial seed oils — have been invented in the past 100 years and all have negative impact on health.

Ultimately, the missing link for us to fully capture the potential of the biomedical revolution will be to create wellness communities. Communities where the default is to be healthy rather than unhealthy. It makes sense to develop programmes that will improve the health of dozens of people at once, whether it is morning beach walks and sunset yoga classes; shuttles to the local farmer’s market; or even brain-health support groups. Health behaviours are contagious, so, who you spend time with definitely affects your overall health.

Wellness communities can be the future of health. To capture this enormous opportunity will require a new partnership of innovation between the healthcare and real-estate sectors to create solutions that work for the consumer and for society.

Craig Tanio, MD MBA and Tammy Motola RN, PhD are the founders of Rezilir Health.

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