Published NASM Winter 2016
WELLNESS: From Movement to Profession
Bigger than ever, with a place for you to engage.
By Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, CWP
For over half a century, the concept of wellness has infiltrated communities, schools, workplaces and health care throughout the U.S. and abroad, inspiring people to embrace healthier lifestyles. Wellness has been a movement, profession, and industry, but most of all, wellness continues to evolve as a dynamic process that has now inspired four generations.
History of Irony and Inspiration
While wellness as a concept is often criticized as a soft science with insufficient data or questionable ROI, the irony is that its founding philosophy arose out of cold, hard statistics. The father of wellness is widely acknowledged to be a pioneering biostatistician who worked at the fledgling National Office of Vital Statistics from 1935 to 1960. Like another genius working in a clerical capacity,1 Halbert L.Dunn, MD, PhD, must have had his stroke of insight while wrestling with the mundane. He witnessed the unmistakable trends in chronic disease due to poor health habits, such as the growth of heart disease and pulmonary disease during the peak years of per capita tobacco use in the U.S. His book, High-Level Wellness (1961), spurred the next generation of health care professionals and social scientists to shift the lens from sick care to prevention, and eventually to salutogenesis—the actual creation of health.2