Healthy Monday is a public health campaign mobilized by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health to help Americans become accountable for lifestyle choices that affect their health.
The campaign designates each and every Monday as a call to action – a day for healthy behaviors, for example, doing back exercises to prevent back pain. By choosing a particular day of the week as the "Day All Health Breaks Loose," Columbia’s campaign intends to provide the necessary support to enable Americans to carry out good intentions for healthy behavior.
The idea of Healthy Mondays started in 2005, when journalist and marketer Sid Lerner compared the number of deaths due to events reported in the news (car accidents, homicides, etc.) with the number of deaths attributed to diseases with preventative behavioral components (heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, etc.).
When he turned to medical studies, Lerner found that an adequate amount of research had been done on causes, treatments and prevention of degenerative disease; he also found the number of these types of studies to be growing.
With the prevalence of degenerative diseases also rising, Lerner concluded that the research studies did not help to make a healthier population. What was needed was behavioral change on a mass scale. Lerner turned to Columbia to help him galvanize other organizations and institutions that could implement, through their own activities, his idea of compliance -- one based on behavioral change research. Today there are 10 actively participating organizations, including:
- American Heart Association
- Syracuse University
- Fresh Direct
- Jenny Craig
- American Diabetes Association
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
"The hamburger and Coke people (marketers) are out there all the time," Lerner told About.com. "Accountability for healthy behavior needs reminders and triggers every week of the year."
Healthy Monday was created to provide structural support for people trying to make the choices that allow them to live healthy lives, and to educate the public about preventative health steps, according to press materials. By simply setting up a compliance day for everyone to relate, the campaign is, and can be, tailored to fit the workplace, schools, non-profit health associations, businesses, the media, and most important of all, individuals.
Need reminders to take care of your back or neck, and other conditions? You can sign up to have Healthy Monday newsletter dropped into your box each week.
1 Interview with Sid Lerner, Healthy Monday founder
2 Interview with Andrea Cross, Ph.d, J.D., M.P.H., and Director of the Healthy Monday Program at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
3 Press Materials, "Healthy Monday." 2006. Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. 16 Oct 2006 <http://healthymonday.org>