Dr. Oz Encourages HR Professionals to Help Others Thrive

By Beth Mirza Jul 1, 2015
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Dr. Oz

​Dr. Mehmet Oz gave the closing keynote address in the last general session of the SHRM 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition

LAS VEGAS—Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiothoracic surgeon, TV show host and best-selling author, took the stage July 1, 2015, at the closing general session of the Society for Human Resource Management 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition before a record-setting crowd of more than 15,000 conference attendees. He urged them to use their influence as leaders in their organizations—and as family members and friends—to help employees and other people they care for live healthier and, thus, happier lives.

“You can communicate wellness. These are things you can act on immediately,” Oz said.

He showed personal stories of patients and viewers of “The Dr. Oz Show” and recommended that attendees use the same tactic when talking about wellness. Personalizing the message works much better than showing data and numbers, he said.

He listed five “life adjustments” that can help people live mentally and physically healthier lives:

  1. Achieve an optimal blood pressure of 115/75. “You don’t want average [130/80], because what happens to the average American? They develop heart disease.”
  2. Exercise 30 minutes daily. Low to moderate exertion is OK, he said; “Just get breathy.” Even 10 minutes of walking the stairs at work every other day is better than no activity at all, he added.
  3. Follow a healthy diet that’s easy to love. “I stopped telling people to eat healthy. Eat what you love that’s healthy.” Dark chocolate and nuts are tasty and good for you, he said. The Supreme Court’s support of the Affordable Care Act in its recent ruling presents “a huge opportunity for the United States. But I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat: if we don’t deal with obesity, nothing will work.” Oz pointed attendees to his website, which offers several free programs that they can use in their workplaces. He recommended people build muscle and focus on reducing their waist size instead of losing pounds.
  4. Control stress and get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep drives high blood pressure, cancer rates and obesity. Shift workers, in particular, suffer the ill effects of lack of sleep, Oz told the crowd. He recommended the Sharecare app for mobile devices, which tracks the stress levels in your voice and in your texts and helps make you aware of how you’re reacting, and how others may be reacting to you. It is based on technology used in call centers that tells managers when to give telemarketers and operators a break, based on the tiredness and tone of their voices.
  5. Curtail your addictions. If you are a smoker, “you’d never give someone you love a cigarette to smoke, once you’ve seen the damage smoking does to your body,” Oz said. “Care for yourself as much as others care about you.”
HR professionals are in a prime position to see how the employees in their organizations are coping—or not—with mental and physical health issues. Oz urged attendees to use this opportunity to make a change in employees’ lives.

Beth Mirza is director of online news operations for SHRM.

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