AUSTIN, Texas, July 15 /PRNewswire/ — Through its strategy to make wellness viral, LoneStart is spearheading an epidemic of healthy choices. Jay Seifert, co-founder, says, "It takes time to build a culture of wellness within the workplace. It happens over time, employee by employee. That's what viral wellness is about. But, unless company leadership 'catches' it, really gets it, it will never be fully integrated into the organization's culture."

An estimated 30 to 45 percent of medical claims today are directly attributable to lifestyle choices such as obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse, and physical inactivity. Obesity is now more costly to U.S. companies than smoking or alcoholism.

When top executives show they value wellness, and value their employees by offering a proven and proactive wellness program, the benefits are contagious, reflected in healthy employees and healthy profits, says Seifert. Many of the workplace groups instituting the LoneStart Team Esteem Challenge are hospitals. "For hospitals to meet their mission, their employees must be healthy, happy and productive, and to this end, we have developed a specific 'Caring for the Caregivers' Challenge."

Seifert points out that most of us want to be well, and "if we have a reasonable expectation of success, we will make positive changes in our daily choices." He adds that, "Once we prove to ourselves we can be successful, we become enthusiastic advocates for the strategy that helped us meet our goals." This is how 'viral wellness' spreads, not only within the organization but to family, friends and the community.

LoneStart began three years ago as a grassroots effort to combat the epidemic of overweight and obesity with a positive, simple, realistic and forgiving strategy.

"It's not about handing out corporate gym memberships, but it is about organizations showing employees they care, and then presenting a workable wellness opportunity scaled to fit into any lifestyle."

About LoneStart

The LoneStart Wellness Initiative is based on the premise that each of us must take personal responsibility to make better nutritional choices and become more physically active. The behavior-based strategy provides participants with the opportunity and tools to make modest yet meaningful changes that lead to long term, sustainable results. Visit their Web site at

SOURCE LoneStart