Raja Rajamannar is Chief Executive, International, Humana and a member of the Global Agenda Council on Chronic Diseases and Well-being.
It’s always nice to celebrate a signature success, and one is about to unfold in New York. Through the leadership of the Chronic Diseases and Well-being Global Agenda Council (GAC), the world’s first-ever Wellness Week was created in conjunction with the United Nations High-Level Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), also in New York. Wellness Week’s official launch is Friday, followed by the UN Summit – the first time in the United Nations’ 66-year history that it will conduct a high-level meeting on this topic – on Monday and Tuesday.
Wellness Week unites a wide variety of enterprises including governments, NGOs, and the private sector in a series of “healthy-fun” events that have a serious purpose: to halt the rising incidence worldwide of such diseases as diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory illness and heart disease. NCDs are responsible for more than half of all deaths around the globe. And they can be prevented – through increased physical activity, better dietary choices, limiting alcohol intake and stopping the use of tobacco.
The combination of Wellness Week and the UN High-Level Summit offers a chance for the member-experts of the GAC to impact a worldwide audience through a global call to action to reduce NCDs and the deaths they cause.
There isn't room here to describe all the activities that the various sponsors are supporting during Wellness Week. To give just one example, Humana will have a hands-on display at Columbus Circle, near Central Park, where people can see the latest in health-bike technology and have the opportunity to bike for free for an hour in the park.
Although Wellness Week will officially end on September 21, it's really just the beginning. It's the start of a global movement that's meant to inspire all of us – individuals, families, employers and communities – to make vital lifestyle changes that will lead to healthier people, healthier countries, and a healthier world.