American Express rolls out global health programme

American Express has rolled out its health and wellbeing programme, Healthy Living, across 16 of the 45 countries in which it is based.

The programme covers four areas: nutrition, exercise, healthcare and emotional wellbeing. Breckon Jones, director of health and benefits, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at American Express, says: “Common health risks are mental wellbeing, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. This is fairly consistent around the world, although there are many cultural nuances in the way these countries approach health promotion and intervention to address the risks.”

In November 2012, American Express launched the programme in Italy, with the main focus on nutrition and its link with emotional wellbeing. The launch included a series of presentations for the organisation’s 500 employees in Rome, as well as a live stream of the presentations for 150 staff in Milan.

“One thing I love about Healthy Living Italy is the programme for nutrition and weight management,” says Jones. “Its approach was nutritional assessment, and, if at risk, nutrition counselling and programme design to achieve a healthier weight goal.

“But it is uniquely Italian. Because an intervention of this sort takes a long time to achieve the desired outcome, the interim support to the nutrition counselling included a fashion consultation, where employees are given advice on what to wear and how to wear it best, and therefore boost their self-confidence and, in turn, motivation to stick to the harder task of changing eating and exercise behaviour.”