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Adams and Reese sponsored a recent Nashville Health Care Council panel of National Health and Well-Being Experts as on May 15th, the Council hosted Dan Buettner, New York Times best-selling author of “Blue Zones,” and Dean Ornish, MD, founder and president of the San Francisco-based Preventive Medicine Research Institute, for a discussion on health and well-being. Wayne Riley, MD, adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, moderated the conversation, with Ben Leedle, president and CEO of Healthways, providing opening remarks.

“We’ve learned that environment plays a vital role in creating a healthier lifestyle. Surrounding oneself with natural opportunities for better health choices empowers a person to make the effort to lead a healthy life,” said Buettner, who is a National Geographic Fellow.

He pointed out that, in addition to eating healthy food and getting plenty of exercise, people in the healthiest communities in the world have a sense of purpose and a strong social network.

“Over the years, we have reexamined the factors that incentivize a person to make good, healthy decisions. Fear is not a sustainable motivator … what enables people to make sustainable life changes is not fear of dying but joy of living,” said Ornish.

Additionally, Ornish highlighted nutrition, fitness, love and support, and stress management as key factors in a person’s health and well-being. The physician has directed clinical research demonstrating the positive impacts of comprehensive lifestyle change on chronic disease for more than 35 years.

The pair of wellness experts gave Council executives insight on best practices to health and longevity, underscoring public policy strategies to improve the health of communities and the transformative impact of choice on controlling healthcare costs.

The May program was presented by Healthier Tennessee, an initiative of the Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness that strives to increase the number of Tennesseans who are physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco.