John Mackey, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Whole Foods on ‘The State of Health and Wellness in Today’s Culture’
On Tuesday, May 29th, I had the privilege and honor of being invited to a special speaking engagement featuring John Mackey, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market on ‘The State of Health and Wellness in Today’s Culture’ at the new Wellness Club – Tribeca. Immediately when he got on stage he warned us that the initial discussion would involve a lot of depressing details about the health of Americans and the irony of a grocer (rather than a Physician), being asked to talk about the issue.
Very similar to the TedMed video below, he provided statistics to support his statements some of which, I’ve highlighted:
- Legal drugs kill more people than illegal drugs do
- Since 2006, there has been a15-35% increase in obesity
- 35-60% of cancers are related to diet and so are preventable
- Heart Disease is responsible for taking the same number of lives as 9/11 did on a daily basis
- Diabetes is the fastest growing disease
- We eat about 28 teaspoons of sugar daily (the equivalent of a 3 lb bag every 10 days)
After listing these grim facts, he reminded us “the human body is far more resilient that people think” and so we could turn this pandemic around. And so what is Whole Foods Market doing to make a difference? In two words, A LOT! I was blown away at the incentives this one organization is doing to motivate their employees to take control of their health. They offer discount cards that increase in value as their health improves. They also offer what they call “the total health immersion”, an intensive 1-week retreat aimed at improving those at an increased risk for illness at no cost to the employee. For those of us that don’t work there, John Mackey discussed the new wellness clubs, the next phase of this healthy eating revolution dedicated to empowering their customers to make educated and positive lifestyle choices. He also mentioned that there are virtual and mobile versions of this program coming soon.
But the most exciting announcement was the one that I was there to discuss. Will there ever be an option for those Americans who have the desire to incorporate healthy eating and lifestyle changes but can’t simply because they do not have access to fresh produce in their own community? Well guess what… the answer is YES! Whole Foods Market will soon be opening smaller stores in inner cities, beginning in Chicago and eventually others locations where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain. That gave me the hope that maybe some day soon we will start to close the enormous gap that currently exists between the haves and the have-nots.
And for those who like me are dedicated to the advancement of Uptown Manhattan in particular, get ready because there is something MAJOR about to happen in our own neighborhood… For more on that, click here.