Florida community wired up as 'living laboratory' for longitudinal wellness study

By Mike Miliard
09:25 AM

Wellness & Prevention, a Johnson & Johnson company, is collaborating with the Lake Nona Institute for an IT-enabled longitudinal research study to explore and test initiatives that could have a lasting impact on population health.

Lake Nona Institute is a non-profit organization that is developing health and sustainability programs in Orlando's 7,000-acre Lake Nona community. This new initiative, called the Lake Nona Life Study, will evaluate the health and wellness of participating residents, employers, employees and students over the course of multiple years; it will focus on the link between health, wellness, longevity and quality of life.

Officials say the results of the study will help populate a new database of health information that could spur additional research projects to track and determine the factors that impact health and well-being.

"Everyone is looking for a sustainable model around wellness," says Sanjay Gupta, president of Wellness & Prevention. "The Lake Nona Life Study carves out a unique opportunity for business, academia, government, and medicine to unite on this issue and collect data beyond traditional channels. It's a rare chance to study wellness on a larger scale and care for individuals and communities at the same time."

The research at Lake Nona will start with Web-based personal health assessments administered by Wellness & Prevention that address health, human performance and well-being. To ensure people can take immediate action toward health improvement, the company will also provide access to its suite of HealthMedia Digital Health Coaching programs, which combine advanced technology with strong behavioral science to aid individuals in better managing their health. Designed to emulate live health coaching sessions, these programs are highly personalized, confidential and available around the clock.

"Our community offers a unique opportunity to design, implement, and test new approaches to health and wellness," says Thaddeus Seymour, Jr., president of the Lake Nona Institute. "But we believe those solutions must be grounded in rigorous, outcomes-based research, which we look forward to undertaking in the months and years ahead with our partners at Johnson & Johnson's Wellness & Prevention, Inc."

Wellness & Prevention will apply its technology solutions and workforce wellness experience to the Lake Nona community landscape, officials say. Deploying specially-designed programs, including energy management solutions from the Human Performance Institute division of Wellness & Prevention, the study will aim to examine and renew the health, energy and performance of residents, employers and employees.

Lake Nona's Medical City, a group of hospitals and research centers, will play a central role in the study, which could span generations.

“In studying the community’s health over time, we’ll be looking not only at its members’ condition, but also the impacts of behavior, nutrition and exercise over time and how they impact quality of life and health,” Wellness & Prevention president Sanjay Gupta told the Orlando Sentinel. The goal, he added, is to use that data to “make positive interventions, and make the world a healthier place."